[do action=”vfdictstart” title=”love”/] [do action=”vfdictitem” contents=”a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.”/] [do action=”vfdictitem” contents=”a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend.”/] [do action=”vfdictitem” contents=”sexual passion or desire.”/] [do action=”vfdictitem” contents=”a person toward whom love is felt; beloved person; sweetheart. “/] [do action=”vfdictitem” contents=”(used in direct address as a term of endearment, affection, or the like): Would you like to see a movie, love?”/] [do action=”vfdictend”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” author=”Christianity”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”What most people need to learn in life is how to love people and use things, instead of using people and loving things.” author=”Unknown”/]
Affectionate concern for the well-being of others.
To love a person is to learn the song that is in their heart and sing it back to them when they have forgotten.
Sacrificial love is self-sacrifice with the pure motivation to alleviate the suffering of others. This supreme love is suffering love, love that requires involvement in the knotty problems of the world, love that bears with the failings and weaknesses of others, love that is committed to helping others regardless of the cost.[do action=”vfquote” quote=”There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread.” author=”Mother Teresa”/]
The Four Types of Love ( Storge, Agape, Philia, and Eros)
Storgē (Family Love)
Storgē is the word for family love, such as the love of a parent toward a child. In social psychology, storgē is the form of love between friends. For the most part, Storgē can be used as a term to describe the love between exceptional friends, and the desire to care compassionately for them.
Agape (Unconditional-Self Sacrificing Love)
Agapē is one of several Greek words translated into English as love. The word has been used in different ways and will always be by a variety of contemporary and ancient sources, including Biblical authors. Many have thought that this word represents divine, unconditional, self-sacrificing, active, volitional, and thoughtful love. Greek philosophers at the time of Plato and other ancient authors have used forms of the word to denote love of a spouse or family, or affection for a particular activity, in contrast to philia—an affection that could denote either brotherhood or generally non-sexual affection, and eros, an affection of a sexual nature. The term ‘agape’ is rarely used in ancient manuscripts, but was used by the early Christians to refer to the self-sacrificing love of God for humanity, which they were committed to reciprocating and practicing towards God and among one another. Agape has been expounded on by many Christian writers in a specifically Christian context.
Philia ( Brotherly- Friends Love)
Aristotle divides friendships into three types, based on the motive for forming them: friendships of utility, social friendships and friendships of the good. Friendships of utility are relationships formed without regard to the other person at all. Buying merchandise, for example, may require meeting another person but usually needs only a very shallow relationship between the buyer and seller. In modern English, people in such a relationship would not even be called friends, but acquaintances (if they even remembered each other afterwards). The only reason these people are communicating is in order to buy or sell things, which is not a bad thing, but as soon as that motivation is gone, so goes the relationship between the two people unless another motivation is found.
At the next level, friendships of pleasure are based on pure delight in the company of other people. People who drink together or share a hobby may have such friendships. However, these friends may also part–in this case if they no longer enjoy the shared activity, or can no longer participate in it together.
Friendships of the good are ones where both friends enjoy each other’s characters. As long as both friends keep similar characters, the relationship will endure since the motive behind it is care for the friend. This is the highest level of phila, and in modern English might be called true friendship.
Eros (Romantic Love)
Eros (ἔρως érōs) is passionate love, with sensual desire and longing between the sexes. The Modern Greek word “erotas” means “(romantic) love”. The term erotic is derived from eros.[do action=”vfquote” quote=”Do not seek to benefit only yourself, but think of other people also. If you yourself have an abundance, do not say, ”The others do not concern me, I need not bother about them!” If you were lucky in hunting, let others share it. Moreover, show them the favorable spots where there are many sea lions which can be easily slain. Let others have their share occasionally. If you want to amass everything for yourself, other people will stay away from you and no one will want to be with you. If you should one day fall ill, no one will visit you because, for your part, you did not formerly concern yourself about others.” author=”Native American Religions, Yamana Eskimo”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”If you love something, set it free. If it comes back, it was, and always will be yours. If it never returns, it was never yours to begin with. ” author=”Unknown”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”We can do no great things; only small things with great love.” author=”Mother Teresa”/]
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.[do action=”vfquote” quote=”Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends; as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect; but when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood. So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” author=”Christianity”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”The position of love can be established when one sacrifices oneself and gives oneself for others. Thus sacrifice accompanies love.” author=”Sun Myung Moon”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”It is not always physical bravery that counts. One must have the courage to face life as it is, to go through sorrows and always sacrifice oneself for the sake of others.” author=”African Traditional Religions”/]
COMING HOME AFTER A HARD DAY’S WORK
A man came home from work late again, tired and irritated, to find his five year old son waiting for him at the door. “Daddy, can I ask a question?”
“Yeah, sure, what is it?” replied the man.
“Daddy, how much money do you make an hour?”
“That’s none of your business! What makes you ask such a thing?” the man said angrily.
“I just want to know. Please tell me, how much do you make an hour?” pleaded the little boy.
“If I tell you, will you leave me alone?” “Okay, I make twenty dollars an hour.”
“Oh”, the little boy replied, head bowed down. Looking up, he said, “Daddy, may I borrow ten dollars, please?”
The father was furious. “If the only reason you wanted to know how much money I make is so you can borrow some to buy a silly toy or some other nonsense, then you march yourself straight to your room and go to bed. Think about why you are being so selfish. I work long, hard hours every day and don’t have time for such childish games.”
The little boy quietly went to his room and shut the door. The man sat down and started to get even madder about the little boys questioning. How dare he ask such questions only to get some money!
After an hour or so, the man had calmed down and started to think he might have been a little hard on his son. Maybe he really needed to buy something with that ten dollars, and he really didn’t ask for money very often. The man went to the door of the little boy’s room and opened the door. “Are you asleep, son?” he asked.
“No, Daddy, I’m awake,” replied the boy.
“I’ve been thinking, maybe I was too hard on you earlier,” said the man. “It’s been a long day, and I took my aggravation out on you. Here’s that ten dollars you asked for.”
The little boy sat straight up, beaming. “Oh, thank you, Daddy!” he yelled. Then, reaching under his pillow, he pulled out some more crumpled-up bills. The man, seeing that the boy already had money, started to get angry again. The little boy slowly counted out his money, then looked up at the man.
“Why did you want more money if you already had some?” the father grumbled.
“Because I didn’t have enough, but now I do,” the little boy replied.
“Daddy, I have twenty dollars, now. Can I buy an hour of your time to play catch with me?”[do action=”vfquote” quote=”Those who are morally well-adjusted look after those who are not; those who are talented look after those who are not. That is why people are glad to have good fathers and elder brothers. If those who are morally well-adjusted and talented abandon those who are not, then scarcely an inch will separate the good from the depraved.” author=”Mencius”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Bear one another’s burdens.” author=”Christianity”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Rendering help to another is the function of all human beings.” author=”Jainism”/]
THE KEYS TO LOVING TEENAGERS
By Dr. Ross Campbell
In order to love teenagers, I must remember that:
- They are not adults.
- They tend to act like children.
- Most of their childish behavior is unpleasant.
- If I do my part as a parent, coach, or teacher and love them despite their childish behavior, they will be able to mature and give up childish ways.
- If I only love them when they please me (conditional love), and convey my love to them only during those times, they will not feel genuinely loved. This in turn will make them insecure, damage their self-image, and actually prevent them from moving on to better self-control and more mature behavior. Therefore, their behavior is my responsibility as much as theirs.
- If I love them unconditionally, they will feel good about themselves and be comfortable with themselves. They will then be able to control their anxiety and, in turn, their behavior, as they grow into adulthood.
Love and Suffering
Genuine love must be freely given, love’s intensity is seen by the amount of suffering it bears — because everyone hates suffering and strives to avoid it. So if a person freely chooses to suffer for someone else, for love, then that love is great. Suffering is a thermometer, which shows love’s temperature, the degree of its reality.[do action=”vfquote” quote=”The best of men are those who are useful to others.” author=”Islam”/]
LOVE MAKES A DIFFERENCE
“How do you account for your remarkable accomplishment in life?” Queen Victoria of England asked Helen Keller. “How do you explain the fact that even though you were both blind and deaf, you were able to accomplish so much?”
Ms. Keller’s answer is a tribute to her dedicated teacher. “If it had not been for Anne Sullivan, the name of Helen Keller would have remained unknown.”
Speaker Zig Ziglar tells about “Little Annie” Sullivan, as she was called when she was young. Little Annie was no stranger to hardship. She was almost sightless herself (due to a childhood fever) and was, at one time, diagnosed as hopelessly “insane” by her caregivers. She was locked in the basement of a mental institution outside of Boston. On occasion, Little Annie would violently attack anyone who came near. Most of the time she generally ignored everyone in her presence.
An elderly nurse believed there was hope, however, and she made it her mission to show love to the child. Every day she visited Little Annie. For the most part, the child did not acknowledge the nurse’s presence, but she still continued to visit. The kindly woman left cookies for her and spoke words of love and encouragement. She believed Little Annie could recover, if only she were shown love.
Eventually, doctors noticed a change in the girl. Where they once witnessed anger and hostility, they now noted an emerging gentleness and love. They moved her upstairs where she continued to improve. Then the day finally came when this seemingly “hopeless” child was released.
Anne Sullivan grew into a young woman with a desire to help others as she, herself, was helped by the loving nurse. It was she who saw the great potential in Helen Keller. She loved her, disciplined her, played with her, pushed her, and worked with her until the flickering candle that was her life became a beacon of light to the world. Anne Sullivan worked wonders in Helen’s life, but it was a loving nurse who first believed in Little Annie and lovingly transformed an uncommunicative child into a compassionate teacher.
“If it had not been for Anne Sullivan, the name of Helen Keller would have remained unknown.” But if it had not been for a kind and dedicated nurse, the name of Anne Sullivan would have remained unknown. And so it goes. Just how far back does the chain of redemption extend? And how for forward will it lead?
Those you have sought to reach, whether they be in your family or elsewhere, are part of a chain of love that can extend through the generations. Your influence on their lives, whether or not you see results, is immeasurable. Your legacy of dedicated kindness and caring can transform lost and hopeless lives for years to come.
You can never overestimate the power of your love. It is a fire that, once lit, may burn forever.[do action=”vfquote” quote=”Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.” author=”Christianity”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”I have never met a person whose greatest need was anything other than real, unconditional love. You can find it in a simple act of kindness toward someone who needs help. There is no mistaking love. You feel it in your heart. It is the common fiber of life, the flame of that heats our soul, energizes our spirit and supplies passion to our lives. It is our connection to each other.” author=”Elizabeth Kubler-Ross”/]
Love of Neighbor
The expression “to love your neighbor” means that we rise above the consideration of mere natural solidarity and fellow-feeling to the higher view of our common humanity heritage; in that sense only could our brotherly love be brought to a kind of moral identity between all humans. From this high motive the universality of fraternal charity follows as a necessary consequence. Whosoever sees in his fellow-men, not the human peculiarities, but the human similarities, can no longer restrict his love to members of the family, or co-religionists, or fellow-citizens, or strangers within the borders, but must extend it, without distinction of to all the units of the human kind, to social outcasts, and even to enemies. Recall the lesson wherein Christ compels His hearers to recognize, in the much despised Samaritan, the true type of the neighbor, and truly new is the commandment whereby He urges us to forgive our enemies, to be reconciled with them, to assist and love them.[do action=”vfquote” quote=”No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent.” author=”John Donne”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”The moment we break faith with one another, the sea engulfs us and the light goes out.” author=”James Baldwin”/]
THE BEST MEDICINE
During the first two decades of this century, a great number of babies under one year of age wasted away in hospitals and children’s institutions and died from unknown causes. In some institutions it was customary to enter the condition of all seriously sick infants as “hopeless” on admission cards.
Among the doctors who were confronted with infant mortality daily was Dr. Fritz Talbot of the Children’s Clinic in Dusseldorf. Dr. Talbot had uncommon success in dealing with sick children. For many years, as he made his rounds, he would be followed from ward to ward by groups of interns seeking new ways of handling children’s diseases. One such intern was Dr. Joseph Brennermann, who told this story.
“Many times we would come across a child for whom everything had failed. For some reason the child was hopelessly wasting away. When this would happen, Dr. Talbot would take the child’s chart and scrawl some indecipherable prescription. In most of the cases, the magic formula took effect and the child began to prosper. My curiosity was aroused and I wondered if the famous doctor had developed some new type of wonder drug.
“One day, after rounds, I returned to the ward and tried to decipher Dr. Talbot’s scrawl. I had no luck, and so I turned to the head nurse and asked her what the prescription was.
“‘Old Anna,’ she said. Then she pointed to a grandmotherly woman seated in a large rocker with a baby on her lap. The nurse continued: ‘Whenever we have a baby for whom everything we could do had failed, we turn the child over to Old Anna. She has more success than all the doctors and nurses in this institution combined.'”[do action=”vfquote” quote=”In union there is strength.” author=”Aesop”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Remember upon the conduct of each depends the fate of all.” author=”Alexander the Great”/]
RITUAL WITHOUT RELATIONSHIP AND LAW WITHOUT LOVE
Teenagers all have one thing in common, a natural tendency to rebel and be drawn toward vice. Let’s face it, we all have that inside of us. If we are going to help kids be virtuous, then we are going to have to recognize that this is the starting point.
Juveniles are rebellious.
- Juvenile violent crime continues to rise despite the fact that only ½ of all juvenile crime is reported.
- The current high school drop-out rate hovers at nearly 10% of all students.
- Researchers now estimate that nearly ½ of all students enrolling in college need remedial courses.
- The current teen age pregnancy rate is about 7% of all girls between the ages of 15 and 19.
- The overall juvenile delinquency case load was 48% higher in 1997 than it was in 1988 and a whopping 400% larger than it was in 1960.
- Last year statistics indicated that 32% of all students had consumed alcohol before the age of 13.
- Illicit drug use by students stands at nearly 10% of the total student population.
- 47.2% of all students say they have used marijuana.
The typical methodology used by the world to deal with juvenile rebelliousness is to try and correct the behavior through the use of rules, programs, laws, and rituals. However, it seems as though the more programs we put in place to deal with youth rebelliousness, the more they are rebelling. I have seen an interesting phenomena take place with high school kids that I think may serve as a key to helping today’s youth.
Why do some teenagers who have been habitually rebellious respond positively to certain coaches or teachers and not others? I contend that it is because those coaches and teachers have gone beyond the “ritual” and have focused more on the “relationship” with the player or student. There is a big difference between a teenager conducting themselves virtuously out of “fear from punishment under the law”, versus out of love for their coach, teacher, parent, or fellow teammate.
I would much rather have my own children do something because they love me rather than doing something because they are afraid of the punishment they will receive from me if they don’t. It’s the same way with the rest of the teenagers in the world. If the only motivating factor for virtuous behavior is fear of punishment, rule, law, or ritual, they might behave for a short time, but eventually they will always revert back to vice. It’s their (our) nature! However, when teenagers have a loving relationship with coaches, teachers, and teammates, then that love can be a powerful deterrent to keep them away from vice and on the path of virtue.
I think this is why certain teenagers who have been labeled (and they probably deserve that label) as troublemakers respond positively to coaches and teachers whose first objective is to establish a respectful relationship with that player and not simply to ram the rules, laws, rituals, or expectations down their throats.
Let’s start helping kids by building respectful loving relationships with them because in the long run, ritual without relationship and law without love…..just doesn’t work.[do action=”vfquote” quote=”So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth.” author=”Bahá’u’lláh”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”I look to a time when brotherhood needs no publicity; to a time when a brotherhood award would be as ridiculous as an award for getting up each morning.” author=”Daniel D. Mich”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Unity to be real must stand the severest strain without breaking.” author=”Mahatma Gandhi”/]
Love is Not Tolerance
Love bears evil, but it does not tolerate it. It suffers the vice of others, but it is not broadminded about vice. The cry for tolerance never induces love to quench its hatred of the evil philosophies that have entered into contest with Virtue. Love forgives the sinner, and it hates the sin; it is unmerciful to the vice in the sinners mind. Whoever has lost the power of moral indignation and the urge to destroy vice has also lost a living, fervent love of Virtue. Love of neighbor, then, is not a mild philosophy of “live and let live”; or a bunch of relative “I’m okay, you’re okay bologna”. Love of Neighbor is the infusion of the Spirit of Virtue, which makes us love the beautiful and hate the morally ugly.
[do action=”vfquote” quote=”In all things that are purely social we can be as separate as the fingers, yet one as the hand in all things essential to mutual progress.” author=”Booker T. Washington”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers.” author=”Martin Luther King, Jr”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Cooperation is the thorough conviction that nobody can get there unless everybody gets there.” author=”Virginia Burden”/]
GREY HAIRED LOVE
By Ernest Havemann
You can see them alongside the shuffleboard courts in Florida or on the porches of the old folks’ homes up north: an old man with snow-white hair, a little hard of hearing, reading the newspaper through a magnifying glass; an old woman in a shapeless dress, her knuckles gnarled by arthritis, wearing sandals to ease her aching arches. They are holding hands, and in a little while they will totter off to take a nap, and then she will cook supper, not a very good supper and they will watch television, each knowing exactly what the other is thinking, until it is time for bed. They may even have a good, soul-stirring argument, just to prove that they still really care. And through the night they will snore unabashedly, each resting content because the other is there. They are in love, they have always been in love, although sometimes they would have denied it. And because they have been in love they have survived everything that life could throw at them, even their own failures.[do action=”vfquote” quote=”Sticks in a bundle are unbreakable.” author=”Kenyan Proverb”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”I have often noticed that when chickens quit quarreling over their food they often find that there is enough for all of them. I wonder if it might not be the same with the human race.” author=”Don Marquis”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Fear less, hope more, eat less, chew more, whine less, breathe more, talk less, say more, love more, and all good things will be yours.” author=”Swedish Proverb”/]
Loving Service of Others
There’s power in serving others and the power I’m talking about here is not the type that usually comes to mind when you see the word power. The power I’m speaking of is more like power in terms of opportunity, namely that serving others will result in powerful opportunities coming into your life that you never would’ve thought possible.
What I mean by serving others is that you should serve others because you genuinely want to.
If your only reason for serving others is to get something back, you’ll only get that something back. That’s it. It’s like a transaction. 1 for 1. An apple for an orange. I do this, you give me that. But when you serve others because you genuinely want to, something big happens. A relationship is formed. You give an apple and get back 4 oranges.
People are always complaining that there are no opportunities out there when they already have within them the power to create them naturally by serving others. They refuse to serve and because they refuse to serve, those opportunities don’t come about at all.
Now people who’ve made it a habit of serving others always find themselves with tons of opportunities and here’s why.
They’ve essentially made a habit of helping people with whatever they need AND they follow through on it. It becomes automatic. They don’t think – “What am I going to get out of this?” They just do.
As a result, the person that’s been helped senses this genuine desire to serve with no hidden agenda whatsoever and is compelled to help that person back. It’s natural. In fact, we tend to repay even more than what’s been given to us. Now since each person is so unique, filled with so much different knowledge, skills, abilities, contacts, etc., all of that can result in a myriad of opportunities that be given to you, without you even asking.
I ask you to take on this one simple task today. Go up to somebody you know and after some small talk and some discussion about their goals, say this to them:
“I really want to help you achieve those goals. What can I do to help?”
Say that with sincerity and I guarantee you that you WILL catch them off guard. They’ll probably do a double take (unless you already do this habitually) because this is VERY rare nowadays. VERY.
But it’s not enough to just ask what you can do to help. When they reply, see what you can do about it and if you say you can help, follow through on it.
Follow through. That will make you stand out even bigger. Following through creates a reputation of dependability. Word will spread about you. You’ll be known as “the guy who says he’ll help others – and actually does” (you’ll find that many people will talk the talk, but won’t walk the walk).
Your network will grow. More opportunities to serve others will arise. As a result, your number and different types of opportunities will increase as well and what you’ll get is a HUGE snowball effect.
Serving others in it of itself is a powerful opportunity to help and when you start to serve others, you’ll realize the simple fact that we all need help and because you realize that, you’ll start to get in the habit of serving others even more. Imagine the avalanche of opportunities that fall into your lap then.
Develop the habit of serving because you genuinely want to, follow through, and you’ll be amazed at the opportunities that come into your life.
People in need are all around you—in your own extended family, in your neighborhood and in your community. And some of the most rewarding activities you can take part in are those designed to help these people. The possibilities are endless, limited only by your imagination, your sensitivity to others’ needs, and your willingness to give.
Here are some suggestions to keep in mind as you consider the kind of service you will plan:
- Carefully, even prayerfully, think about the needs of those close to you. Do not overlook those you know best. If you want to visit an elderly person, for example, remember those in your own family.
- Remember that an unneeded or unwanted service may not be a service at all. Also, keep in mind that what you would appreciate may not be what another would appreciate, or even be able to use. For example, a gift of a sack of wheat might be merely confusing to a refugee family unfamiliar with Western foods and cooking methods.
- Consider serving anonymously. This can help you feel the pure joy of giving without concern for recognition or reward. Also, anonymous service is sometimes easier for others to accept. Often, though, your personal delivery of a gift will make it even more meaningful to the person who receives it.
Choose one of these:
- Choose an elderly person or couple who needs some kind of help. Decide what you could do to help the person you have chosen—for example, raking leaves, shoveling snow, caring for a lawn or garden, cleaning or repairing a house, or reading aloud to one who cannot see well. And remember that the elderly will appreciate your friendship, as well as your help.
- Share dinner with a new neighbor or one who is alone. You could also take dinner to a shut-in. A neighborhood potluck supper could help those who live around you feel a spirit of friendship and acceptance.
- Share a gift or even money with someone who needs help. Also, consider sharing fruits and vegetables from your garden or other goods your family may have. Homemade gifts of food—a loaf of bread or canned fruit—may also be appreciated. Remember that you have two precious resources—time and energy—that they can use to help others. A day’s yard work might be the most welcome gift you could give.
- Be a “Substitute for Santa” at Christmas for someone who may not have the means to enjoy a special meal or buy needed gifts. Look first to your extended family, then to the neighborhood and community.
- Clean up an outdoor area near you—a park, roadside, or campground. Pick up litter in any public area.
- Volunteer and an elderly rest home.
- Get involved in local community service projects.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE? SEEN OR UNSEEN
What is it that you love the most? Do you pin your hopes, dreams, and love on winning football games, a league title, a playoff appearance, or a state title? Do you measure your success as a man by your job status, salary, bank account balance, home value, retirement account, boat, recreational vehicle, vacation home, clothes, and jewelry?
All of these things are merely illusions, that will fade like the morning mist as the sun rises. You are chasing empty phantoms if the focus of your love and desire as a coach is simply for “wins”, “victory’s on the field”. Does your validation as a coach hinge only on what is “seen” on the scoreboard at 9:30 pm every Friday night? Or does that validation come from victories in the souls of the young men that you coach that are “unseen” by the human eye. Our highest love should be helping build the souls of the young men we coach.
You are only pursuing empty phantoms if you strive for x and o victories that do not last, and pin your hopes on them; if you campaign for honors, distinction, and focus on you as the “coach”; if you sacrifice the health of the souls of the young men you coach in pursuit of more worldly goals; if you hope for a winning record and care little for growth of your players into virtuous men; if you think only of your players present season or career, and never give a thought to their future as husbands, fathers, and leaders; if you set your heart on things which are “seen” rather than things which are “unseen”, and do not focus your love on things eternal.
Be vigilant not to act as a hypocrite when it comes to your commitment to the pursuit of strengthening the eternal souls of your players versus “winning” football games. I have listened to many a coach tell me that they value building the character of their players and then turn right around and model that value by verbally abusing their players on the side lines, mistreating players before, during, and after games, cussing and yelling at fellow coaches and officials, showing fits of rage when losing, acting disrespectful to parents, teachers, and administrators, and every other classless act imaginable. Every one of your players is an eternal soul. They have not been placed here to serve you. You have been placed here to serve them. Always do what is best for their soul. Sometimes that decision is in stark contrast to what the world says is successful, or right, or just. You should always do what is right for their soul. I like to imagine 10,000 years from now, running into the eternal soul of an unskilled junior varsity player I coached in my temporal coaching career. A kid that only got in on a few special teams varsity plays in his entire high school career. To imagine having that kid come up to me and thank me for treating him right and helping him grow as a virtuous man,….that inspires me! I’ll wait for that kind of “win”, wouldn’t you?
So make it your goal to focus your love, desire, and attention away from the love of the temporary (seen), and transfer all of your affections onto the unseen ( matters of the soul); for those who follow the temporal impulses of pride, ultimately end up as losers in eternity.[do action=”vfquote” quote=”We are, each of us angels with only one wing; and we can only fly by embracing one another.” author=”Luciano de Crescenzo”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”The thought manifests as the word. The word manifests as the deed. The deed develops into habit. And the habit hardens into character. So watch the thought and its ways with care. And let it spring from love, born out of concern for all beings.” author=”Buddha”/]
By Nancy Bouchard
He stood six feet, nine inches tall and weighed in at 310 pounds. Rumor had it that he’d killed a man with his bare hands— just squeezed the life out of him It was the kind of reputation that gained respect in the rough city where we grew up. At fifteen, Willy was already a legend.
Willy and I played together since we both wore diapers, although we were the unlikeliest of pairs. He was a massive black giant and I was a pudgy little redhead. We both worked at the factory in town—I in the office, Willy on the dock. Even the hardened men who worked alongside Willy feared him.
He saw me home safely from work and I kept his secret that each night, instead of cruising the city streets, beating people up, he went home and lovingly lifted his elderly grandmother out of the chair she was confined to and placed her in bed. He would read to her until she fell asleep, and in the morning, he would comb her thin, gray hair, dress her in the beautiful nightgowns he bought with the money he made at the can company, and place her back in the chair.
Willy had lost both his parents to drugs, and it was just the two of them now. He took care of her, and she gave him a reason to stay clean. Of course, there wasn’t an ounce of truth to the rumors, but Willy never said otherwise. He just let everyone believe what they believed, and although everyone wrote him off as just another street hood, no one hassled him either.
One day, in Western Civilization class, our teacher read aloud an excerpt from Machiavelli’s ‘ THE PRINCE ‘: ” Since Love and Fear cannot exist together, if we must choose between them, it is far safer to be feared than loved.” I looked at Willy and winked. “that’s you,” I mouthed. He just smiled.
The next day, I lingered a few minutes longer than usual at school and Willy went on without me. Just around the corner from the can company, fire trucks lined the street and a thick blanket of smoke covered the sky. A small child lay wrapped in a familiar red- and -black checkered flannel shirt, held by a tearful woman. She was talking to a Fireman and a reporter from the evening news.
“This big guy heard the baby crying, and came right in and got us,” she said through Joyful tears. “He wrapped his shirt around the baby, and when the sirens came, he ran off down the street.”
“Did you get his name?” the reporter asked.
“Yes, sort of,” the woman replied. “He said it was Machiavelli.”
That evening, the paper ran the story offering a reward to anyone with information about the identity of the Good Samaritan. No one came forward.[do action=”vfquote” quote=”If we discovered that we had only five minutes left to say all that we wanted to say, every telephone booth would be occupied by people calling other people to stammer that they loved them.” author=”Christopher Morley”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Love fails, only when we fail to love.” author=”J. Franklin”/]
Excerpts from a Speech by Martin Luther King, Jr. on Loving Your Enemies November 17, 1957
When the opportunity presents itself for you to defeat your enemy, that is the time which you must not do it. There will come a time, in many instances, when the person who hates you most, the person who has misused you most, the person who has gossiped about you most, the person who has spread false rumors about you most, there will come a time when you will have an opportunity to defeat that person. It might be in terms of a recommendation for a job; it might be in terms of helping that person to make some move in life. That’s the time you must do it. That is the meaning of love. In the final analysis, love is not this sentimental something that we talk about. It’s not merely an emotional something. Love is creative, understanding goodwill for all men. It is the refusal to defeat any individual. When you rise to the level of love, of its great beauty and power, you seek only to defeat evil systems. Individuals who happen to be caught up in that system, you love, but you seek to defeat the system.
The Greek language, as I’ve said so often before, is very powerful at this point. It comes to our aid beautifully in giving us the real meaning and depth of the whole philosophy of love. And I think it is quite apropos at this point, for you see the Greek language has three words for love, interestingly enough. It talks about love as eros. That’s one word for love. Eros is a sort of, aesthetic love. Plato talks about it a great deal in his dialogues, a sort of yearning of the soul for the realm of the gods. And it’s come to us to be a sort of romantic love, though it’s a beautiful love. Everybody has experienced eros in all of its beauty when you find some individual that is attractive to you and that you pour out all of your like and your love on that individual. That is eros, you see, and it’s a powerful, beautiful love that is given to us through all of the beauty of literature; we read about it.
Then the Greek language talks about philia, and that’s another type of love that’s also beautiful. It is a sort of intimate affection between personal friends. And this is the type of love that you have for those persons that you’re friendly with, your intimate friends, or people that you call on the telephone and you go by to have dinner with, and your roommate in college and that type of thing. It’s a sort of reciprocal love. On this level, you like a person because that person likes you. You love on this level, because you are loved. You love on this level, because there’s something about the person you love that is likeable to you. This too is a beautiful love. You can communicate with a person; you have certain things in common; you like to do things together. This is philia.
The Greek language comes out with another word for love. It is the word agape. And agape is more than eros; agape is more than philia; agape is something of the understanding, creative, redemptive goodwill for all men. It is a love that seeks nothing in return. It is an overflowing love; it’s what theologians would call the love of God working in the lives of men. And when you rise to love on this level, you begin to love men, not because they are likeable, but because God loves them. You look at every man, and you love him because you know God loves him. And he might be the worst person you’ve ever seen.
And this is what Jesus means, I think, in this very passage when he says, “Love your enemy.” And it’s significant that he does not say, “Like your enemy.” Like is a sentimental something, an affectionate something. There are a lot of people that I find it difficult to like. I don’t like what they do to me. I don’t like what they say about me and other people. I don’t like their attitudes. I don’t like some of the things they’re doing. I don’t like them. But Jesus says love them. And love is greater than like. Love is understanding, redemptive goodwill for all men, so that you love everybody, because God loves them. You refuse to do anything that will defeat an individual, because you have agape in your soul. And here you come to the point that you love the individual who does the evil deed, while hating the deed that the person does. This is what Jesus means when he says, “Love your enemy.” This is the way to do it. When the opportunity presents itself when you can defeat your enemy, you must not do it.
Now for the few moments left, let us move from the practical how to the theoretical why. It’s not only necessary to know how to go about loving your enemies, but also to go down into the question of why we should love our enemies. I think the first reason that we should love our enemies, and I think this was at the very center of Jesus’ thinking, is this: that hate for hate only intensifies the existence of hate and evil in the universe. If I hit you and you hit me and I hit you back and you hit me back and go on, you see, that goes on ad infinitum. [tapping on pulpit] It just never ends. Somewhere somebody must have a little sense, and that’s the strong person. The strong person is the person who can cut off the chain of hate, the chain of evil. And that is the tragedy of hate, that it doesn’t cut it off. It only intensifies the existence of hate and evil in the universe. Somebody must have religion enough and morality enough to cut it off and inject within the very structure of the universe that strong and powerful element of love.
I think I mentioned before that sometime ago my brother and I were driving one evening to Chattanooga, Tennessee, from Atlanta. He was driving the car. And for some reason the drivers were very discourteous that night. They didn’t dim their lights; hardly any driver that passed by dimmed his lights. And I remember very vividly, my brother A. D. looked over and in a tone of anger said: “I know what I’m going to do. The next car that comes along here and refuses to dim the lights, I’m going to fail to dim mine and pour them on in all of their power.” And I looked at him right quick and said: “Oh no, don’t do that. There’d be too much light on this highway, and it will end up in mutual destruction for all. Somebody got to have some sense on this highway.”
Somebody must have sense enough to dim the lights, and that is the trouble, isn’t it? That as all of the civilizations of the world move up the highway of history, so many civilizations, having looked at other civilizations that refused to dim the lights, and they decided to refuse to dim theirs. And Toynbee tells that out of the twenty-two civilizations that have risen up, all but about seven have found themselves in the junk heap of destruction. It is because civilizations fail to have sense enough to dim the lights. And if somebody doesn’t have sense enough to turn on the dim and beautiful and powerful lights of love in this world, the whole of our civilization will be plunged into the abyss of destruction. And we will all end up destroyed because nobody had any sense on the highway of history. Somewhere somebody must have some sense. Men must see that force begets force, hate begets hate, toughness begets toughness. And it is all a descending spiral, ultimately ending in destruction for all and everybody. Somebody must have sense enough and morality enough to cut off the chain of hate and the chain of evil in the universe. And you do that by love.
There’s another reason why you should love your enemies, and that is because hate distorts the personality of the hater. We usually think of what hate does for the individual hated or the individuals hated or the groups hated. But it is even more tragic, it is even more ruinous and injurious to the individual who hates. You just begin hating somebody, and you will begin to do irrational things. You can’t see straight when you hate. You can’t walk straight when you hate. You can’t stand upright. Your vision is distorted. There is nothing more tragic than to see an individual whose heart is filled with hate. He comes to the point that he becomes a pathological case. For the person who hates, you can stand up and see a person and that person can be beautiful, and you will call them ugly. For the person who hates, the beautiful becomes ugly and the ugly becomes beautiful. For the person who hates, the good becomes bad and the bad becomes good. For the person who hates, the true becomes false and the false becomes true. That’s what hate does. You can’t see right. The symbol of objectivity is lost. Hate destroys the very structure of the personality of the hater. And this is why Jesus says hate (recording interrupted)
. . . that you want to be integrated with yourself, and the way to be integrated with yourself is be sure that you meet every situation of life with an abounding love. Never hate, because it ends up in tragic, neurotic responses. Psychologists and psychiatrists are telling us today that the more we hate, the more we develop guilt feelings and we begin to subconsciously repress or consciously suppress certain emotions, and they all stack up in our subconscious selves and make for tragic, neurotic responses. And may this not be the neuroses of many individuals as they confront life that that is an element of hate there. And modern psychology is calling on us now to love. But long before modern psychology came into being, the world’s greatest psychologist who walked around the hills of Galilee told us to love. He looked at men and said: “Love your enemies; don’t hate anybody.” It’s not enough for us to hate your friends because—to to love your friends—because when you start hating anybody, it destroys the very center of your creative response to life and the universe; so love everybody. Hate at any point is a cancer that gnaws away at the very vital center of your life and your existence. It is like eroding acid that eats away the best and the objective center of your life. So Jesus says love, because hate destroys the hater as well as the hated.
Now there is a final reason I think that Jesus says, “Love your enemies.” It is this: that love has within it a redemptive power. And there is a power there that eventually transforms individuals. That’s why Jesus says, “Love your enemies.” Because if you hate your enemies, you have no way to redeem and to transform your enemies. But if you love your enemies, you will discover that at the very root of love is the power of redemption. You just keep loving people and keep loving them, even though they’re mistreating you. Here’s the person who is a neighbor, and this person is doing something wrong to you and all of that. Just keep being friendly to that person. Keep loving them. Don’t do anything to embarrass them. Just keep loving them, and they can’t stand it too long. Oh, they react in many ways in the beginning. They react with bitterness because they’re mad because you love them like that. They react with guilt feelings, and sometimes they’ll hate you a little more at that transition period, but just keep loving them. And by the power of your love they will break down under the load. That’s love, you see. It is redemptive, and this is why Jesus says love. There’s something about love that builds up and is creative. There is something about hate that tears down and is destructive. So love your enemies.
I think of one of the best examples of this. We all remember the great president of this United States, Abraham Lincoln—these United States rather. You remember when Abraham Lincoln was running for president of the United States, there was a man who ran all around the country talking about Lincoln. He said a lot of bad things about Lincoln, a lot of unkind things. And sometimes he would get to the point that he would even talk about his looks, saying, “You don’t want a tall, lanky, ignorant man like this as the president of the United States.” He went on and on and on and went around with that type of attitude and wrote about it. Finally, one day Abraham Lincoln was elected president of the United States. And if you read the great biography of Lincoln, if you read the great works about him, you will discover that as every president comes to the point, he came to the point of having to choose a Cabinet. And then came the time for him to choose a Secretary of War. He looked across the nation, and decided to choose a man by the name of Mr. Stanton. And when Abraham Lincoln stood around his advisors and mentioned this fact, they said to him: “Mr. Lincoln, are you a fool? Do you know what Mr. Stanton has been saying about you? Do you know what he has done, tried to do to you? Do you know that he has tried to defeat you on every hand? Do you know that, Mr. Lincoln? Did you read all of those derogatory statements that he made about you?” Abraham Lincoln stood before the advisors around him and said: “Oh yes, I know about it; I read about it; I’ve heard him myself. But after looking over the country, I find that he is the best man for the job.”
Mr. Stanton did become Secretary of War, and a few months later, Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. And if you go to Washington, you will discover that one of the greatest words or statements ever made by, about Abraham Lincoln was made about this man Stanton. And as Abraham Lincoln came to the end of his life, Stanton stood up and said: “Now he belongs to the ages.” And he made a beautiful statement concerning the character and the stature of this man. If Abraham Lincoln had hated Stanton, if Abraham Lincoln had answered everything Stanton said, Abraham Lincoln would have not transformed and redeemed Stanton. Stanton would have gone to his grave hating Lincoln, and Lincoln would have gone to his grave hating Stanton. But through the power of love Abraham Lincoln was able to redeem Stanton.[do action=”vfquote” quote=”To love and be loved is to feel the sun from both sides.” author=”David Viscott”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”It is not how much you do, but how much Love you put into the doing that matters.” author=”Mother Teresa”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Love is not blind, it sees more not less; but because it sees more it chooses to see less.” author=”Unknown”/]
A story is told about a soldier who was finally coming home after having fought in Vietnam. He called his parents from San Francisco.
“Mom and Dad, I’m coming home, but I’ve a favor to ask. I have a friend I’d like to bring home with me.”
“Sure,” they replied, “we’d love to meet him.”
“There’s something you should know the son continued, “he was hurt pretty badly in the fighting. He stepped on a land mind and lost an arm and a leg. He has nowhere else to go, and I want him to come live with us.”
“I’m sorry to hear that, son. Maybe we can help him find somewhere to live.”
“No, Mom and Dad, I want him to live with us.”
“Son,” said the father, “you don’t know what you’re asking. Someone with such a handicap would be a terrible burden on us. We have our own lives to live, and we can’t let something like this interfere with our lives. I think you should just come home and forget about this guy. He’ll find a way to live on his own.”
At that point, the son hung up the phone. The parents heard nothing more from him. A few days later, however, they received a call from the San Francisco police. Their son had died after falling from a building, they were told. The police believed it was suicide. The grief-stricken parents flew to San Francisco and were taken to the city morgue to identify the body of their son. They recognized him, but to their horror they also discovered something they didn’t know, their son had only one arm and one leg.
The parents in this story are like many of us. We find it easy to love those who are good-looking or fun to have around, but we don’t like people who inconvenience us or make us feel uncomfortable. We would rather stay away from people who aren’t as healthy, beautiful, or smart as we are. Thankfully, there’s someone who won’t treat us that way. Someone who loves us with an unconditional love that welcomes us into the forever family, regardless of how messed up we are.[do action=”vfquote” quote=”Love is the force that ignites the spirit and binds teams together.” author=”Phil Jackson”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Where there is great love there are always miracles.” author=”Willa Cather”/]
A GIFT OF LOVE
“Can I see my baby?” the happy new mother asked. When the bundle was nestled in her arms and she moved the fold of cloth to look upon his tiny face, she gasped. The doctor turned quickly and looked out the tall hospital window. The baby had been born without ears. Time proved that the baby’s hearing was perfect. It was only his appearance that was marred. When he rushed home from school one day and flung himself into his mother’s arms, she sighed, knowing that his life was to be a succession of heartbreaks.
He blurted out the tragedy. “A boy, a big boy…called me a freak.” He grew up, handsome for his misfortune. A favorite with his fellow students, he might have been class president, but for that. He developed a gift, a talent for literature and music. “But you might mingle with other young people,” his mother reproved him, but felt a kindness in her heart.
The boy’s father had a session with the family physician. Could nothing be done? “I believe I could graft on a pair of outer ears, if they could be procured” the doctor decided. Whereupon the search began for a person who would make such a sacrifice for a young man. Two years went by. Then, “You are going to the hospital, son. Mother and I have someone who will donate the ears you need. But it’s a secret” said the father.
The operation was a brilliant success, and a new person emerged. His talents blossomed into genius, and school and college became a series of triumphs. Later he married and entered the diplomatic service. “But I must know!” He urged his father. “Who gave so much for me? I could never do enough for him.”
“I do not believe you could,” said the father, “but the agreement was that you are not to know…not yet.” The years kept their profound secret, but the day did come . . . one of the darkest days that ever pass through a son. He stood with his father over his mother’s casket. Slowly, tenderly, the father stretched forth a hand and raised the thick, reddish-brown hair to reveal . . . that the mother had no outer ears.
“Mother said she was glad she never let her hair be cut,” he whispered gently, “and nobody ever thought mother less beautiful, did they”?
Real beauty lies not in the physical appearance, but in the heart. Real treasure lies not in what that can be seen, but what that cannot be seen. Real love lies not in what is done and known, but in what that is done but not known.[do action=”vfquote” quote=”To love is to place our happiness in the happiness of another.” author=”G.W. Von Leibnitz”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”If you don’t have it here (pointing to the heart), it doesn’t matter what you’ve got here (pointing at the head).” author=”Barbara Johnson”/]
Conflict in relationships can be removed by agreement on values, but something more is required. We must not only agree on common values; we must also choose to live by a value system that contributes positively to our relationships. The value system that produces the strongest relationships is one based on sacrificial love for others.
By seeking to serve those I love, my relationships regain a focus on how I am connected to others rather than focusing only on how I might fulfill my individual desires. The whole concept of relationship revolves around joining people together rather than separating them. Instead of focusing on what I want, I must consider the needs of the other person.
Sacrificial love demands my willingness to give up one of my own desires in order to fulfill a desire of the other person. If you truly love someone, and want her to know and feel it, you need to do what she values. As she does your values to you, you also will feel loved. Instead of two people each trying to make themselves happy regardless of the effect it has on others, they will find a two-fold happiness. First, they will experience the happiness brought into their lives by the other person loving them. Second, they will experience an additional happiness because of how they are making another person happy.
Sacrificial love for the benefit of others is also the best value system for producing and sustaining relationship because it has conflict reduction and resolution built-in. If two people are both trying to please the other rather than only pleasing one’s self, it removes conflict. Desires that we might selfishly be attempting to fulfill in spite of their effect on the other person are eliminated. If I consider the effect my words and actions will have, I will be careful not to inflict pain or injury on anyone else. Rather than harming others, I will say and do things to make their lives better.
Sacrificial love cannot be artificial. You cannot merely give into to the desire of the other person. It must be the true value of your heart to serve. You must desire to please the other and build the relationship more than always having your own way. If it is merely an act, you will become frustrated when you are not served as you desire. Sacrificial love done only for what you will receive in return is not sacrificial love at all. That is why it only works in relationships with both participants seeking this same amazing value system.
Sacrificial love for the benefit of others must become the foundation of your value system. It does not necessarily eliminate your other interests or desires, unless they are selfish and contrary to love. But used as your most basic moral guide it will govern your other values and desires. Instead of considering of all the things you should or should not do, you only need to think of whether or not your actions and desires agree or conflict with sacrificial love. If what you desire conflicts with sacrificial love, you can be certain that it will also negatively affect your relationships.
It is like having the perfect ability to evaluate all aspects of relationship with one simple tool. However, you must be vigilant in examining your values and desires to see if they correspond with sacrificial love. If they do, and your partner in relationship is also being motivated by sacrificial love, then your relationship will flourish.
For example, let us consider actions that many people consider to be wrong. Murder, lying, and stealing are wrong because they are not sacrificial. However, instead of a list of negative rules, we can be guided by one positive value. Sacrificial love promotes doing good to others rather than merely avoiding doing harm to them. Anything that harms our relationships likely flows from some value that is opposed to sacrificial love.
This kind of relationship requires both parties to be committed to sacrificial love for the other. Without that commitment, the sacrificial lover will be exploited. Exploitation always destroys relationship, whereas sacrificial love enhances it. Exploitation is the opposite of sacrificial love. If we seek to fulfill our desires by using other people, we will hurt them and destroy our relationships. Whenever we force or manipulate others to serve us, we are exploiting them. People often use anger, threats, sulking, or crying as weapons when they cannot use physical force.
Therefore, it is crucially important that both people in a relationship be committed to sacrificially loving and forgiving each other when they are offended. Any attempt to hold on to a grudge will damage a relationship as much as selfishly having others serve you. This sacrificial love is tied to forgiveness in that it is willing not to punish the other person for what he has done. Instead of revenge, it prefers to restore relationship and to have the other person change his values. Sacrificial love is tied to repentance in that it is willing to give up a selfish desire in order to benefit the other person.
The greatest source of happiness we can have in life is relational. Although we can find pleasure in bodily appetites and in a personal kingdom, nothing fulfills us like having others truly love us. Therefore, it makes sense to pursue sacrificial love in our relationships so that we, along with those we love, can find deepest personal fulfillment.[do action=”vfquote” quote=”Neither a lofty degree of intelligence nor imagination nor both together go to the making of genius. Love, love, love, that is the soul of genius.” author=”Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much.” author=”Bessie Stanley”/]
True Sacrificial Love
Two brothers were playing on the sandbanks by the river. One ran after another up a large mound of sand. Unfortunately, the mound was not solid, and their weight caused them to sink in quickly. When the boys did not return home for dinner, the family and neighbors organized a search. They found the younger brother unconscious, with his head and shoulders sticking out above the sand. When they cleared the sand to his waist, he awakened. The searchers asked, “Where is your brother?” The child replied, “I’m standing on his shoulders” With the sacrifice of his own life, the older brother lifted the younger to safety. The tangible and sacrificial love of the older brother literally served as a foundation for the younger brother’s life.[do action=”vfquote” quote=”Harmonizing heart and brain through love is what can establish a complete intelligence, a complete self, where a child can look at life and realize there are no dead ends, there are always possibilities. The greatest gift a parent can give a child during all the ups and downs of life is love.” author=”Doc Childre”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Love the heart that hurts you, but never hurt the heart that loves you.” author=”Vipin Sharma”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Perfect love is rare indeed – for to be a lover will require that you continually have the subtlety of the very wise, the flexibility of the child, the sensitivity of the artist, the understanding of the philosopher, the acceptance of the saint, the tolerance of the scholar and the fortitude of the certain.” author=”Leo Buscaglia”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”In order to create there must be a dynamic force, and what force is more potent than love?” author=”Igor Stravinsky”/]
True Love and Marriage
When I got home that night as my wife served dinner, I held her hand and said, I’ve got something to tell you. She sat down and ate quietly. Again I observed the hurt in her eyes.
Suddenly I didn’t know how to open my mouth. But I had to let her know what I was thinking. I want a divorce. I raised the topic calmly.
She didn’t seem to be annoyed by my words, instead she asked me softly, why?
I avoided her question. This made her angry. She threw away the chopsticks and shouted at me, you are not a man! That night, we didn’t talk to each other. She was weeping. I knew she wanted to find out what had happened to our marriage. But I could hardly give her a satisfactory answer; she had lost my heart to Jane. I didn’t love her anymore. I just pitied her!
With a deep sense of guilt, I drafted a divorce agreement which stated that she could own our house, our car, and 30% stake of my company.
She glanced at it and then tore it into pieces. The woman who had spent ten years of her life with me had become a stranger. I felt sorry for her wasted time, resources and energy but I could not take back what I had said for I loved Jane so dearly.
Finally she cried loudly in front of me, which was what I had expected to see. To me her cry was actually a kind of release. The idea of divorce which had obsessed me for several weeks seemed to be firmer and clearer now.
The next day, I came back home very late and found her writing something at the table.
I didn’t have supper but went straight to sleep and fell asleep very fast because I was tired after an eventful day with Jane.
When I woke up, she was still there at the table writing. I just did not care so I turned over and was asleep again.
In the morning she her divorce conditions: she didn’t want anything from me, but needed a month’s notice before the divorce. She requested that in that one month we both struggle to live as normal a life as possible.
Her reasons were simple: our son had his exams in a month’s time and she didn’t want to disrupt him with our broken marriage.
This was agreeable to me. But she had something more, she asked me to recall how I had carried her into out bridal room on our wedding day.
She requested that every day for the month’s duration I carry her out of our bedroom to the front door ever morning. I thought she was going crazy. Just to make our last days together bearable I accepted her odd request.
I told Jane about my wife’s divorce conditions. . She laughed loudly and thought it was absurd. No matter what tricks she applies, she has to face the divorce, she said scornfully.
My wife and I hadn’t had any body contact since my divorce intention was explicitly expressed. So when I carried her out on the first day, we both appeared clumsy. Our son clapped behind us, daddy is holding mommy in his arms.
His words brought me a sense of pain. From the bedroom to the sitting room, then to the door, I walked over ten meters with her in my arms. She closed her eyes and said softly; don’t tell our son about the divorce. I nodded, feeling somewhat upset.
I put her down outside the door. She went to wait for the bus to work. I drove alone to the office.
On the second day, both of us acted much more easily. She leaned on my chest.
I could smell the fragrance of her blouse. I realized that I hadn’t looked at this woman carefully for a long time.
I realized she was not young any more. There were fine wrinkles on her face, her hair was graying!
Our marriage had taken its toll on her. For a minute I wondered what I had done to her.
On the fourth day, when I lifted her up, I felt a sense of intimacy returning. This was the woman who had given ten years of her life to me.
On the fifth and sixth day, I realized that our sense of intimacy was growing again. I didn’t tell Jane about this. It became easier to carry her as the month slipped by. Perhaps the everyday workout made me stronger.
She was choosing what to wear one morning. She tried on quite a few dresses but could not find a suitable one. Then she sighed, all my dresses have grown bigger.
I suddenly realized that she had grown so thin, that was the reason why I could carry her more easily.
Suddenly it hit me… she had buried so much pain and bitterness in her heart. Subconsciously I reached out and touched her head.
Our son came in at the moment and said, Dad, it’s time to carry mom out.
To him, seeing his father carrying his mother out had become an essential part of his life. My wife gestured to our son to come closer and hugged him tightly.
I turned my face away because I was afraid I might change my mind at this last minute. I then held her in my arms, walking from the bedroom, through the sitting room, to the hallway. Her hand surrounded my neck softly and naturally.
I held her body tightly; it was just like our wedding day.
But her much lighter weight made me sad. On the last day, when I held her in my arms I could hardly move a step. Our son had gone to school. I held her tightly and said, I hadn’t noticed that our life lacked intimacy.
I drove to office…. jumped out of the car swiftly without locking the door. I was afraid any delay would make me change my mind…I walked upstairs. Jane opened the door and I said to her, Sorry, Jane, I do not want the divorce anymore.
She looked at me, astonished, and then touched my forehead. Do you have a fever?
She said. I moved her hand off my head. Sorry, Jane, I said, I won’t divorce.
My marriage life was boring probably because she and I didn’t value the details of our lives, not because we didn’t love each other anymore. Now I realize that since I carried her into my home on our wedding day I am supposed to hold her until death do us apart.
Jane seemed to suddenly wake up. She gave me a loud slap and then slammed the door and burst into tears. I walked downstairs and drove away.
At the floral shop on the way, I ordered a bouquet of flowers for my wife.
The salesgirl asked me what to write on the card. I smiled and wrote,
“I’ll carry you out every morning until deaths do us apart. “
That evening I arrived home, flowers in my hands, a smile on my face, I run up stairs, only to find my wife in the bed – dead.
My wife had been fighting CANCER for months and I was so busy with Jane to even notice. She knew that she would die soon and she wanted to save me from the whatever negative reaction from our son, in case we push thru with the divorce.– At least, in the eyes of our son— I’m a loving husband….
The small details of your lives are what really matter in a relationship.
It is not the mansion, the car, property, the money in the bank.
These create an environment conducive for happiness but cannot give happiness in themselves. So find time to be your spouse’s friend and do those little things for each other that build intimacy.
Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.
Don’t give up on your marriage.