Friday, October 14, 2011
"Expanding Our Capacity To Love"
In my life experience I have found that most of us self impose our capacity to love others. By that, I mean we seem to set "place mats" around our heart and allow only a limited few a seat at the table. Some of us limit the invitation list to family only. Some of the luckier ones welcome a few friends to our circle of love.
Isn't that just crazy? If love is the most marvelous gift we can own why do we pose limitations on the magical exchange of this gift?
Let me present to you an absurd example: When I was younger, and my kids were home, my love was concentrated on my wife and kids, along, of course with my mother and siblings. Then my children grew up and established families of their own. My mother died as did two of my siblings. These losses created a "vacuum" which required replenishment. Over the course of years I suppose I started transferring some of my love to my two little Chihuahua dogs and now treat them as if they were my children. I would guess other older folks do this as well.
But let me tell you about some wonderful people I have met who have never limited the "guest list" to their heart! They are people who just exude a love for their fellow man and revel in the "banquet" of all humanity and are far richer than most of us can ever hope to be!
The first of these that comes to my mind was my late sister, Marcie. At the age of twelve my sister began to be recognized by others as "slow". She was never, ever retarded in any sense. It was just that she would never emotionally grow beyond the maturity of a twelve year old. Marcie loved to read and she could accomplish any task any of us are called upon to do in the course of our normal day. What made Marcie "not like us" was that she maintained a complete "innocence", an undying belief that everyone she met was wonderful! She was just incapable of seeing the "bad" in anyone. Accordingly, Marcie never met a stranger! She would exchange pleasantries with someone in the grocery store and, upon the next meeting, would assume a "hug and kisses" relationship with that person. Consequently, Marcie's circle of "friends" was immense. She was on hug and kiss terms with half of our small town! Marcie eventually married but had no kids but that didn't stop her from "having" kids. When any of my extended family had kids you could expect Marcie to be lugging them around and showering them with hugs and kisses and love! When she met a mother and baby it would not be long before Marcie was cradling that child in her own arms.
Sadly, Marcie's health was not good; by the time she reached her thirties she began to have kidney problems and eventually experienced complete kidney failure. Although given a kidney transplant she experienced severe reaction to the anti-rejection drugs and died of a heart attack at age 54. Ironically, desperate to see her brother again, she died en route to see me after my return from overseas.
Marcie never had any real material possessions. She lived in a trailer house and never had much money, mostly because, when she did have a little money, she gave it away or spent it on gifts for others. As I attended her funeral I marvelled at the huge turnout for this lady who never finished high school, never held a steady job and never accomplished anything that would have gotten her name in the paper. But, at that funeral, were huge contingents of people from Marcie's church. Towns people came. Her nurses from as far away as San Francisco came and wrote remembrances of how Marcie had touched their lives.
I guess if I had to submit one remarkable thing about my sister it would be that she just had too much love to give and there simply weren't enough people available to accept it all.
The other person I would cite as having an infinite capacity to love was that of a friend I met while working and living in Saudi Arabia. Those with Muslim phobia should stop reading here because my friend is indeed a Muslim. His name is Ibrahim Abuguyan.
When I met Ibrahim he was a young Captain in the Saudi Air Force. The first thing I noted about him was a perpetual smile and his respect for every human being, regardless of ethnicity or religion. We soon became very close friends and I came to admire this man greatly. I admired his dedication to hard work and his devotion to his religious principles. While I could never accept his religion as mine, (since I am not a follower of any organized religion), I greatly admired my friend Ibrahim's living his life according to his religious principles every hour of every day. Ibrahim collected friends as most people collect coins or stamps. He treated all of them equally, whether the Pakistani tea boy who served the tea or a four star general. Ibrahim is now a General in the Saudi Air Force and, a decade after our last parting, he still calls me from Saudi Arabia to see how I'm doing.
How fortunate are those who have an unlimited capacity for loving others....and how fortunate we are to have known them.