The Passions of Love
We are often told what love is not by our ministers during marriage ceremonies. Love is not envious, boastful, arrogant, or rude. Love is not irritable or resentful. A popular movie in 1970 told me “love is never having to say you're sorry.” Commercials invite me to try products that enhance love. Some commercials and ads try to persuade me love can be found by filling out questionnaires. I have even been told love needed physical proof. And of course, there are always the never telling daisies I would question with the "he loves me", "he loves me not" game. In my lifetime, I have been bombarded with benchmarks of what others use to measure love. Love is not a negative emotion or characteristic. Love needs no words of expression. Love needs enhancing. Love is physical. Love requires proof. Love is sometimes a company's bottom line. Love can be attained using scientific methods. Love is a game of possibilities, or not.
I saw the love my mother and father had for each other often expressed by scarifies each made for the other. I felt the love of parents though their support, guidance and scarifies they made for their children. My parents gave up a business and a life close to their immediate families in Colorado to move to Chicago, so I could have the best opportunity for the medical attention I needed as a very young child. Love is not selfish.
In our youth, my siblings and I would never admit to loving each other. In fact, we would go to the opposite extreme and declare hatred for each other. I do remember my mother making us hug and kiss after every declaration of hate she would hear. It was our introduction to learning to always say sorry to those we love. I don't recall when we started hugging and kissing each other without prompting but now it feels natural and welcoming. In our adult years, I am comforted by the love and support of my sister and brothers. Love is not resentful or rude.
What I may have seen as love as a pre-teen changed over time and turned out to be only a short lived stage of love or only one sided. Young love was its definition, only a crush. High school and college introduced me to yet another definition of love, the physical side of love. Love needed proof of its existence, so it was argued. Love is not insistent on its own way, nor is it unreliable.
I knew all the "not's" of love. I didn't think I would ever come to understand the power love holds. Then, I fell in love with my husband Bill. I could then feel the comfort, the support and the emotional nurturing love gives. But, now I also felt the passion that comes with love. A growing passion of not just the physical side of love but the passions of all the emotions love brings: A passion for life; A passion for sharing; A passion for loves joys; A life of thankfulness; A life of hope and faith in each other. I kept the revered moments safe in my heart. Love never ends.
I could now explain love to be nurturing, unselfish, supportive, comforting, passionate, intense, and understanding. I could recall those cherished moments love was shared with my husband. Our family of five then grew as our children began to have families of their own. When our first grandchild was born, her Papa agreed to care for her when her mother would return to work. I was working full time and going back to school to finish my degree and he had retired when our youngest was not yet in elementary school. Our youngest was now in high school and very much independent. So, this new baby and her Papa set out on a journey that would affect each others life forever. Love endures all things.
Her Papa’s physical forever ended October 12, 2010. My husband of thirty-nine years died. I could pinpoint all the moments I thought defined the meaning of love for me. I could also pinpoint the exact moment I thought love was lost. I was struggling to recall all the treasured moments of the love we shared, but the most special gift came days later at my husband’s memorial service. Our oldest grandchild, Kamri, had eloquently written her expressions of love for her Papa. As I listened to her expressions of love being read during the service, I was taken back into the past and ahead into the future all at the same time. She was sharing all the little moments that they shared during the twelve years he cared for her. I could see she had a good beginning in knowing what love means. The sadness of that October day wasn’t that love was lost, but that I never focused on how full of love my heart was until it felt so empty. She gave me a path to recovery.
She started a book in the second grade she named PAPA-ISMS that she would add to during the years. She brought this book to the memorial service to share with those who were mourning. She recorded his “sayings” and had illustrations for each one. “Home James and don’t spare the horse power”, illustrations of him on horseback. “Age before beauty but beauty was a horse”, with an illustration of a horse in front of a very old person with a cane. Priceless insight to their sharing and influence they had on each other. Some of what she shared with us during his memorial service: “My Papa was more than a grandfather to me, he was my best friend. My Papa loved bologna sandwiches and hotdogs. When I would come home from kindergarten we would have bologna sandwiches or microwave hotdogs. I now don’t like either bologna or hotdogs, but they will always be something that reminds me of my Papa. He loved to talk about the Civil War too. He would tell me stories about the time he was in the air force, and sing the air force song to me all the time. It was never a dull moment with my Papa. It’s hard seeing your best friend leave, but in your heart they will always be with you. I love you Papa. I hope you’re getting all the R&R you want up there.” She knew what R&R meant. She really listened to his military stories. My mind wandered to the road trips we took with Kamri and her mother and how we could never get through a round of ‘Who Stole the Cookie From the Cookie Jar’. Bill would always admit, “I stole the cookie from the cookie jar” instead of calling another name. We would all burst into laughter and then try another round, which would again end with his admission of guilt. Bill, at Kamri’s request once wore one of my grandmothers hats to a potluck social at church and kept it on through the entire dinner. He didn’t wear the hat to entertain us, but because he would do anything for his granddaughter and friend. And, she would eat his bologna sandwiches.
Twinkles of Love
I have all those big moments of the love we shared locked safe in my heart. But, it was the miniature moments Kamri shared with us that has me sifting through my memories of loves everyday moments we shared, loves twinkles. Those twinkles now sustain me when I remember him: taking training wheels off and then running along side for security; dancing with the girls first in his arms and then while they stood on his feet (he loved to dance); showing our three children how well he could roller blade ( he played hockey in his youth and didn’t see the difference between skates and roller blades or his age until he was well on his way down the sidewalk); holding back his desire to actually make our son’s derby car faster; building a doll house for a Christmas gift in an unheated garage in the cold of December; spending evenings getting me through my history classes when I decided to complete my degree. I can now see I experienced loves full meaning, proven in all the moments we sometime pass over when we garner through all those memories looking for the fireworks of love. I smile and laugh when I recall the “I love you” twinkles that came dotingly from the heart. I now can hear the whispers of the heart, and they speak volumes. My life with Bill was always full of love. I wasn’t always paying close attention. I know he did, his love still twinkles.
And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13