Most of you reading this know I wrote a blog about happiness. Happy Regardless.
Google happy regardless and it will come up first. Yeah. Of the 191,000,000 results for happiness, Google lists my blog as #1 on their search engine. (They wrote and congratulated me the day my blog hit #1...) This may be the result of tens of thousands of hits from all over the world in a year's time. Or, it may be that all those search entries for "how to be happy regardless of your circumstances" pointed searching souls in my blog's direction. Either way, it was well read.
But here's an interesting thing: I am writing about love -- the essence of life, something we all want and need -- and nobody is reading it. ??
I have a theory about this...
Pain. Vulnerability. Loss.
I think we're afraid of love.
I came across a TED talk a week or so ago. Brene Brown studies human connection and shares a poignant and humorous look at The Power of Vulnerability.
Basically she says that for real connection to happen between two people, you have to be vulnerable. Do yourself a favor and listen. It's wonderful.
I want to write about love. I want to write about how to see it more often in our lives, how to feel it with more abandon, and how to be open to it. I want to write about how to embrace the joy AND the pain and learn through the experience that it's all part of the process. And part of being human. And that it's Ok to feel pain. Because pain is the only way to know joy.
Is it true that nobody wants to read about love?
I guess we'll see...
Follow if you're with me.
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
We were waiting in the car outside the ice cream parlor (where he was going to propose) when they came out the door. Juliet gracefully reached her arms around his neck and we assumed the proposal had taken place as planned.
But they quickly disappeared. We scoured the area, trying to determine where they had gone, completely bewildered how they could have vanished into seemingly thin air. A few minutes passed when movement caught my eye. They had been standing behind a large pillar, invisible to anyone parked in front of the stores.
Suddenly, in the reflection of the shop window glass, I saw Trevor lowering himself down on one knee. I gasped in surprise, exclaiming, "It's happening! It's happening!" I felt shocked, delighted, and thrilled to be experiencing something I didn't expect to see. Time moved in slow motion after that, Trevor on one knee reaching up to her with the ring, Juliet visibly caught in a swirl of unexpected surprise. Bringing her hands to her face, she cried. And we cried. I think Trevor's friends (who were hiding in the bushes) probably cried too...
The memory of the storefront window proposal is fixed in my heart and mind. I can still feel the thrill and the joy of it. :-)
Trevor loves my daughter. I can feel it. And last night, I saw it.
I have another memory of love also fixed in my heart and mind. I was at the airport in Barcelona, Spain about a year ago. Before beginning the shuffle through security, I noticed a couple in their late forties who were saying good-bye--who knows why. They were looking into each other's eyes, hands touching like they were trying to hang on, speaking in a foreign language, and sobbing. Sobbing. I have no idea what they were saying. But I felt their love for each other. It was tangible. And I saw the love through their tears and how they communicated with their touch.
That memory of love is as clear for me as the memory I made last night.
Valentine's Day is a mixed bag. (Personally, I think it should be made a day for women to take care of themselves in honor of the League of Women Voter's anniversary, and men ought to be taken off the hook. Most men are good and show their love every day...)
But in whatever form and with whomever you celebrate Valentine's Day, it is (as my friend Rob reminded me this morning), about love.
In honor of the love I've seen and felt, I wanted to make a post on Valentine's Day about the thing we live for, the principle of existence that gives us hope.
It makes life meaningful. It is "the master key that opens the gates of happiness." Oliver Wendall Holmes
Show your love.
Because you never know who is watching you and finding hope.
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
As a grown-up, Valentine's day is a little different experience--depending on your relationship status. But given we are less than a week away from the day of pink and red, that wonderful day when women hope for flowers and special things that say, "I love you", and men just wish the day would go away, I'd like to write about gestures of love.
Valentine's Day in grade school offers a unique opportunity to express sentiment. Choosing the valentines, personally signing each one, trying to get the envelopes to seal--it was exciting! Who didn't want a shoebox full of valentines?
There is a powerful lesson in that shoebox of love: reciprocity.
I had a shoebox of valentines regardless of what class I was in or what school I was attending. We moved a lot. A LOT. But every Valentine's Day offered the same experience. I gave gestures of love and I was given gestures of love. Abundantly. (Apart from the valentine from Chris Freed, the boy I liked, who said he was glad I was moving.)
My point is, we can make a real, positive, and powerful difference in each other's lives with gestures of love. And the love will come back to us. Far more than a shoebox full of 30 valentines. A shoebox full of unlimited love.
Kelsie went to the children's hospital for her volunteer work yesterday. Her story follows.
"I had just returned to the playroom when my supervisor asked, "Will you take this keyboard and go see Ana? She was sleeping when the other volunteer went in her room." I finished picking out some nail polish colors and made my way to the Neuroscience Trauma Unit. When I arrived nurses were moving her to another room. One nurse was speaking rapidly in Spanish to Ana and her mother, and others had IV poles. The nurse told Ana that I was there for her, mentioning the keyboard I was holding. Ana got up and rushed to my side, wrapping her arms tightly around me for several seconds. Her embrace was so warm and so genuine. I was overcome with love--the love I felt for her and the love I felt from her. She looked up at me and spoke with both deep gratitude and excitement. In her broken English she said, "Thank you so much for coming!!"
Ana's nurse and I each held her hands as we walked down the hall to her new room. She was so joyful and exuberant, just beaming light and love, smiling at everyone. She told me her family came here from Peru two years ago. We chatted about school, boys, her favorite foods, and what she liked to do for fun. I asked her about the piano and she told me she played by ear, but only with her right hand. I felt like we were long lost friends.
When we arrived at her room, her lunch had arrived but she had no interest in eating. She said, "I really like Lady Gaga, I'm going to play a song." Then sitting down to the light-up keyboard Ana played the melody of "Bad Romance" from beginning to end. She turned to look at the small audience of her mother and me and we burst into applause. I gushed over her performance, telling her what a wonderful job she did. I was amazed. She smiled widely, wondering aloud what to play next. "Do you know any hymns?" I asked. She faced the keyboard again and began a beautiful rendition of my favorite hymn. I sat there with tears in my eyes, marveling at this young woman, feeling SO much LOVE for her!
The nurse came in to alert her of a procedure. So I said goodbye, telling Ana how happy I was to have met her, and that she was so beautiful and so special. She embraced me again saying, "It was so nice to meet you too, and hope I can see you again soon."
Ana has a rare and degenerative disease with a prognosis of early onset dementia. I feel so sad that this beautiful soul is having to struggle so much. I felt blessed and touched by her love. What sort of world would it be if the people we met, we loved instantly? What if, like Ana, we embraced everyone like a long lost family member? How much better would we all feel, just because we LOVE?"
Love heals. It strengthens and uplifts and gives hope. Kelsie came home from her experience filled with the love of God. In offering her self in service, her heart was moved. And having been touched by Ana, Kelsie came home understanding in a brand new way the power we have to impact each other for good.
Open the shoebox of unlimited love.