We’re continuing with our series about LIFE, using the acronym, in the last blog we looked at Live [and a-Live]. I really appreciated the feedback from some of you! Today, I’m going to write about LOVE. I remember once being in the UNISA library looking for a book on Smiles and to my surprise, I found there were 8 books in the library. Imagine how many books have been written about love and loving, but I would like to raise the bar using the Good Book’s definition of Love which I have adapted into a quiz for which the answer is Yes or No. As you know, if you’re above a certain number of Yes’s, you’re awesome and if you’re below a certain number, well, you have work to do. In between, you can decide…
Here we go:
- Are you patient?
- Are you kind?
- Are you jealous?
- Are you boastful?
- Are you proud?
- Are you rude?
- Do you demand your own way?
- Are you irritable?
- Do you keep a record of being wronged?
- Do you rejoice about injustice?
- Do you rejoice when truth wins out?
- Do you never give up?
- Do you never lose faith?
- Are you always hopeful?
- Does your love endure through every circumstance?
So, here is the score table:
>12, You’re awesome!
<12 and >6, You may need some work!
From 0 to 6, You have lots of work to do.
Hope you did well against the toughest definition of Love that I know. Jackie Pullinger, a missionary doing an amazing work in the gang- and drug-infested areas of Hong Kong, says “you need hard feet and a soft heart” to really love. Anyone who has an addicted relative or who have endured hardship in their life of different kinds knows she’s right. Of course, if we’re honest, we don’t normally take the definition of love that seriously in our lives. Words like “awesome” and “amazing” roll off our tongue. Love does that as well. “I love that book, I love that movie, and I love that car”, are so common that we just accept it as a term of speech and never an exaggeration.
American movies and sitcoms continue the yarn as people fall in love, make love and drop out of love with regularity. So our world becomes love but the superficial kind. Heaven help us if someone protests in the street! “Those guys”, become the subject of anger and “last time they did it”, the measure of their wrongs. It’s really hard to really love but sometimes, we have to step up to the plate and hold onto love with a passion that even begins to surprise ourselves.
I have a friend who tells me that we hold others accountable by their words and actions and ourselves accountable by our good intentions. Identify with that? “But I didn’t mean to…”, “But you are misunderstanding me…” etc – how I hear myself saying that in defence of myself. My intention was noble, but my execution not quite there. At those times we expect to be loved and forgiven though often, that’s not as easy as it seems.
Enter a minister who taught me much as a younger guy. He said that “love is an act of your will”. Now that’s interesting! You see if you buy that then all the good or bad emotion, all the good or bad feelings, and all the good or bad self-talk gives way to a choice. Crazy, but many self-development speakers will tell you that the only autonomy you truly have in this close-knit, interdependent world, is to choose how you react to something or someone. I know someone who is the best at “Let it go” of anyone I know, including myself.
She just sucks “it” up and seems to do it with everything that crosses her path. She really is a great example to me. You see, I have a belief that you never need to forgive what you accept. Think about it, if you are aggrieved by something and you “lose it” with the thing or the person, you then need to forgive, say you’re sorry and move on as best you can. “I can forgive, but will never forget”, becomes our mantra. However, if you somehow genuinely accept the person or the circumstance and learn a level of tolerance, you never get angry or “lose it” and you don’t need to say, “I’m sorry”. You literally accept the person or circumstance and, if you’re really good, you just take learning from it and handle the situation better next time.
Another thing about love is that it is created in sediments. Think of the Slasto floor covering we used to have in our homes. It was the result of layers and layers of wet sand compressed over centuries. Imagine a world where your consistent acts of service to those you love to build up into solid layers over time. Though separately weak and brittle, compressed layers become as hard as rock. However, it takes time and consistency to build love so purposefully. Like gym, one session doesn’t cut it but slowly over time, you start to see the change. Just so is it with love, as kindness upon kindness builds up and becomes solid and secure in a relationship. Sadly, the opposite can be true of many relationships and unspoken issues and hurts can become seriously rock-hard and be the cause of misunderstanding and antagonism. None of us are exempt in any of our relationships and we all have experienced both with those we love and who love us.
Remember, that as serious as love is, it is also fun. If you’ve lost the “feeling”, then watch youngsters “fall in love”. Why would something so emotional and chemical, be termed “falling” if it didn’t feel like that? Falling for someone is one of the cutest things that can happen to anyone – rose-tinted glasses, flutters, sparks, innumerable messages, and thoughtfulness of the highest order and going seriously out your way, are all signs of love. I remember my Dad coming in and telling my Mom that he had bought me a car. It cost R350 and was a 1968 Volksie. I used to drive it from Potch to East London through the night whenever the army let me off. I had to wear my boots and Grey coat in winter, because the cold air came in at the pedals and froze me., but on the other side in East London, was the most beautiful girl I had laid eyes on to that time. Huh, then she dumped me and my world fell apart; really, I promise! Just like you, Reader. But from the ashes of my broken, bleeding heart, or as the song goes, “my achy, breakie heart”, I fell in love with my beautiful wife.
Life and love turned out to be very kind to me. And so the cycle goes on and I watch my son falling in love, getting married and completing the circle of life and love. Oh, and by the way, grandkids then come and hearts melt all over again. I see these crazy grandparents all around me – thank goodness for Skype and digital spogboekies! Lekker, really lekker to see love going full circle and making people happy and committed and just having fun in all the emotion and feeling. Love is a beautiful and amazing gift to the hearts of men and women. And what about our pets? – ag shame, they’re beeauutiful too!
In closing, some great quotes that sum up so much of what’s been said…
Love is just a word until someone comes along and gives it meaning. -Paulo Coelho
To love someone is nothing, to be loved by someone is something, to love someone who loves you is everything. -Bill Russell
When you love someone, you love the person as they are, and not as you’d like them to be. -Leo Tolstoy
Gamble everything for love, if you’re a true human being. -Rumi
Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier. -Mother Theresa
Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love. -Mother Theresa
Love you All!