Monday, June 6, 2011



Love between a man and a woman is an illogical, irrational phenomenon that is far beyond my ability to describe or explain. I would strongly recommend the seventh letter in Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet. (I recommend that you read all of those letters.) Having said this let me offer just a few observations on the subject.

Love is hard work. Falling in love can be quite easy; it is maintaining that love that demands our time and energies. Don’t expect it just to happen; people can change in significant ways over the years, and if left unattended, love can be victimized by these changes.

Love should be gracious and spacious, allowing ample room for individual growth. One of the most important responsibilities in a loving relationship is to enable one another to become the person they are intended to be. Love exists for us to serve others, not for us to be served.

This is not without some risk. One partner may out grow the other, but there is a greater risk both to the person and the marriage if growth is stifled.

There is absolutely no place in love for oppression, and restriction. To love someone is not to possess them.

Apply these same principles to your relationship with your children. Respect and trust your child for the individual person that he or she is. Drench them with love, guide them with a consistent but light hand, allowing them to make mistakes. They will anyway, and it is always easier for them if they can count on your love, understanding, and forgiveness.

Love does not preclude other significant relationships. One person cannot be expected to be everything to the other. A strong, loving relationship is not threatened by other relationships.

You can never say, “I love you” too often or too loud.


Friendships, like family bonds, are all different. Some are casual and occasional while others are strong and intense, each serving a purpose or filling a need. There are friends whose company we enjoy because they are fun and make us laugh. There are others who share our interests in work or play with whom we can commiserate, and there are those with whom we share our souls.

Every friendship is a precious gift, to be valued and nurtured, whether it is casual, intense, occasional, or constant.

We all have friends whom we consider to be best friends; those special relationships that transcend explanation and withstand all tests of time and distance. They are rare and should be cherished and protected. These are the people that have the potential to affect the way we view the world and/or influence our behavior.

Occasionally we find ourselves diametrically opposite to a dear friend on some major issue - political, social, spiritual, or otherwise. That is when we discover the strength of those bonds that are so difficult to describe; the friendship trumps all the differences.

Consciously or unconsciously, friends strive to make one another feel good about themselves, casting each other in a positive light, offering encouragement, support, and when needed, defense.

I am realizing now that the distinction I’ve held between friendship and love is arbitrary and invalid. The two are one in the same, and I am chagrined that it has taken me this long to learn that.

There is a line in the song, What a Wonderful World, that goes like this: “I see friends shaking hands, saying how do you do? They’re really saying, I love you.” Wouldn’t it me nice if we treated everyone like a friend?

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