Thanks for reading this month's piece about love wisdom.
I say "wisdom" humbly, but also with confidence that my nearly 77 years attending the open-door World University of Love has left me with a few gems to share. As I'm sure you would concur, tuition at this University is priceless and advanced degrees are difficult to earn.
I picked the number 976 somewhat randomly, but also with some thoughtful guesstimation. Between my six years of weekly TV spots on the local news and 14 years of writing columns, there have been approximately 976 efforts to squeeze meaningful lessons out of my World University of Love studies.
We are all students at this expensive school, whether we knowingly signed up or not. Classes begin at sun-up daily and end at pre-dawn the following day. Attendance is mandatory (although hooky is common). Classes are seven days a week, 365 days a year. There is no time off but there is generally sufficient time to rest. That might sound like a paradox, but so are most of the ever-fluid mysteries of Love.
According to many, Love is by far the most important subject to study during this incarnation. But unlike regular school, where we probably forget 75% to 95% of what we learned, in Love school we need to retain 75% to 95% of the teachings in order to perform at a satisfactory level. And we are strongly encouraged to keep improving our love skills every day. This can be time-consuming, but ultimately more time-consuming when we don't retain and practice all the lessons.
As mentioned earlier, Love class is always in session. No weekends off. No summer vacations. Some might argue that making a living and protecting ourselves and our families are even more important to learn about than Love. I am not going to argue, but simply say that earning a living and family protection are both essential ingredients of love and are not remotely separate arenas.
Love is pretty darn inclusive.
Because of my upcoming travel schedule, I find myself writing this message on Mother's Day, in between our Mother's Day breakfast gathering and our Mother's Day dinner gathering. There's no coincidence here. Mother's Day and Love are two of the most integrally related topics in the world. Maybe it was mothers who first showed love to begin with. Giving birth, caressing, nursing, bonding, listening, really listening, protecting fiercely. ...
In the beginning there were mothers. Of course, there had to be fathers if there were to be mothers, but we fathers were usually out hunting while the mothers were looking after the children. Later on, of course, fathers were out teaching their children to hunt. No food, then no families. No families, then no love.
Love has more ingredients than any recipe in the whole world. Love is simple and love is complex. Love is tender. Love is strong. Love is connecting. Love is enduring. Love is apologizing and love is forgiving. Love is accepting. Love is drawing boundaries. Love is teaching. Love is learning. Love is laughing together and love is crying together. Love can be painful and love can be heaven on earth. Love needs to be practiced because while some of it comes naturally, some of it absolutely does not!
How good of a listener are you? Listening may be the core ingredient of love. Listening. Asking questions. Being deeply touched by another's words.
Love absolutely must be somewhat about me, but it certainly can't mostly be about me. Love is a verb. Love is a noun. Love is a prayer. Love is a way to live every day. Some days are better than others and we can always do better the next day.
Love is life.
Mother's Day is behind us now.
Yesterday Wendy and I attended a memorial service for a dear friend. There was so much love in one huge room.
Love never ends.
—Burt Gershater is a counselor, leadership trainer, speaker and writer. He can be reached at [email protected]