Thursday, June 28, 2012

Loving is an Art 
Not a Feeling

“It’s easy to say ‘I love you,’ but putting love into action is the work of a lifetime.”
Kurt Silverfiddle wrote a beautiful piece on that theme the other day in reference to his marriage and family life. Truer sentiments have never been said, and Kurt expressed them persuasively in his characteristically modest style.  Unfortunately (I thought) concern for the devastating fires in and around Colorado quickly took over the thread, and thoughts of love were soon abandoned in favor of concern for possible disaster.
We need continually to be reminded of what's truly important, because we allow –– even encourage –– ourselves to get too preoccupied with all that seems wrong, threatening, annoying or unattractive, and let it mar the moment, cloud our vision for the future, or spoil our sleep.  Even worse, we let myriad forms of negativity keep us from getting in touch with our better angels, our deepest capacities –– our true selves.
What most us need is to make a determined effort each day to express approval, appreciation and affection by giving the kind of gifts and performing little services we know would delight, amuse, enrich and reassure our family and friends. In other words we need to give of ourselves –– an old expression that regrettably seems to have gone out of favor.
There’s even more we must do, of course, if we are to become truly loving:
Always give everyone the benefit of the doubt, at least until there is no possibility of doubt left, and even then try to forgive those who offend or annoy. 
If Our Master could forgive His torturers and murderers from the Cross, surely we ought to find enough Charity in our hearts to forgive those who irritate us, fail to appreciate us, wrongfully accuse us, and "despitefully use" us. 

Paul Gaugin: The Yellow Christ

Thinking less and less of our own sorrows, pet peeves, aggravations and unfulfilled needs, and more and more of the needs and feelings of others is not only the most loving thing we could do, it is also the best gift we could ever give ourselves. 
Our own burdens become much lighter, and we see our lives in better perspective when we give what we can to alleviate the suffering and allay the doubts and fears of others.
Again the poet says it so much better than I possibly could: 
If I can stop one heart from breaking, 
I shall not live in vain. 
If I can ease one life the aching, 
Or cool one pain, 
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again, 
I shall not live in vain. 
~ Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)
We fulfill our own needs best by serving others with no expectation of special rewards for ourselves.
Also, making a habit of always looking for and expressing RECOGNITION and APPRECIATION of whatever virtues, talents, and attempts “to make a difference” others make, however vain, is an oft-neglected way of giving love. 
Walt Whitman said:
“Be curious, not judgmental.”
“Whoever walks a furlong without sympathy walks to his own funeral drest in his shroud.” 
There’s so much nurturing wisdom and truth in poetry –– and so many probing, penetrating issues raised. How unstintingly it could enrich our lives, if only we had enough curiosity to make us set aside our petty concerns, and explore the Cosmos in depth!
To see a world in a grain of sand
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour ...
William Blake! Unique poet, artist, mystic, visionary, sage, whose life spanned the late eighteenth and early nineteenth-centuries, knew as well or better than anyone I’ve ever encountered that words mean nothing, unless they are brought to life with understanding gained in an honest, never-ending search for wisdom, and that all true wisdom is rooted in the Love, which is God, Himself.

Salvador Dali: The Crucifixion


  1.  Always On Watch said...

    I'm pretty consistent in applying forgiveness until I'm pushed in a way that hurts not only me but also others. I CAN stop dwelling on offenses once I get to a certain point.

    The last words that my mother spoke to me (She didn't know that she would be dead less than 12 hours later): "Don't hurt your health." 

Over the years until she found a remedy, which I will explain below, Mom had fretted so much over politics, current events, and certain nasty family matters that she had her first heart attack at age 44, with 7 more heart attacks over the next 4 years. Eight heart attacks (mild ones, thank God) in four years! 

The excellent doctor that she had discerned the pattern: Mom would have a heart event if (1) she mopped the floor or washed the windows or (2) paid attention to the news, both in print and on television/radio.

    As Mom got older -- let's say around age 50, she learned to let disturbing matters "roll off her back." She was always a woman of great faith, and she finally committed to her heart the fact that the Lord knows what He's doing.

    Mom died in the coronary care unit, the best one here, a few weeks before she would have turned 72; she was in that unit only because of her medical history, and the problem was a gall bladder attack, the pain from which put too much stress on her heart. We didn't have an autopsy done, but the doctor's best evaluation of her cause of death was something called "heart block," an electrical disturbance of the heart and a disorder that also claimed Mom's first cousin some years later at roughly the same age. Honestly, we should all die in that same way: fast, painless, etc.

    June 25, 2012 9:26 AM 

  2.  Silverfiddle said...

    Very nice post, FreeThinke. Thanks for the mention and kind words.


We can get so wrapped up that we forget to "give of ourselves," and often don't even realize we are being stingy.

    AOW: It is indeed a gift from God to be able to let things "roll off you back."

    June 25, 2012 9:38 AM 

  3. No. You are not "seeing things."

    For some reason the formatting on this post got so distorted and out of whack, we couldn't stand the sight of it, so we Removed the original post, took it back into Word, reformatted it, and posted it again.

    As a courtesy –– and a sign of appreciation –– we reposted the two comments we received as best we could as "Anonymous."

    Frankly, we still hope for more response to this item, even though it is more "philosophical" than "political."

    One of the things we hope to achieve at this place is to foster an awareness that what one may learn from religion, philosophy, poetry, fiction, and Art both informs and enriches the way we look at politics.

    The political process becomes downright cannibalistic if we attempt to dwell on it to the exclusion of other –– frankly more important –– things.

    Thanks for your understanding and indulgence.

    ~ FreeThinke

  4. "Is this deja vu all over again?"

    No, sir. I was in the process of making an explanation, apparently, while you were posting your question.

    I care a great deal how things look. It affects the way others are apt to respond in subtle –– and sometimes not-so-subtle ways.

    The formatting on this item kept getting worse and worse every time I tried to "fix" it in Blogger, so finally I just gave up, and redid the whole shebang.

    Too bad we're not allowed to repost in the original position, but ... well ... we do the best we can is all I can say.

    ~ FreeThinke

    PS: I encourage you – and everyone –– to look backward a bit when you're over here, and make comments on older items if the spirit moves. We aim --- AHEM! -- always to post Words of Timeless Significance. ;-)

    The article on shampooing with Dawn being a prime example.


    ~ FT



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