Love – Helen Keller learning the meaning. Poem by Susan on love described (Feb. 2008)

Susan's Thursday morning note February 14, 2008 
Love described from Susan's perspective.
Helen Keller's learning the meaning of love

Good morning & Happy Valentine’s Day to you!  I know that there are mixed emotions for who I am thinking for this morning.  A great day full of fun, a sad day full of overwhelming memories.  How do I write for the extremes of all of you what is worth your time to read and think about today?   I read and read last night looking for something “perfect” and then instead of the paragraph from a book for us, I found, through several places, some thoughts that meant something to me.  As I read them I kept thinking – what is love?   How do we celebrate a word that is hard to explain?   I will tackle my very first official poem with that question in mind – just to show that love isn’t summed up only in a relationship, but in what gives us emotion that stirs us into an emotion of living.  True emotion.

the book lover surrounded by books and cats living alone who calls in his 80s to talk about what books I’ve gotten in
the friend from 12 years ago that seeks me to share in her weakness of wanting to quit being strong as her child is going into surgery
the sister who I know is there, that speaks like me, laughs like me, and has my memories
my son whose first movement towards me in the morning is a gentle three-pats on the back
the friends around the corner who call me angel when being the most aware of how unangelic I am.
the customer who I see relax when she enters the store and surrounds herself with friends she’s met in books
the oldest love in a woman that loved me as a little girl and loves me as her own now with pride
the friends in books who speak what I didn’t know how to express myself
the cat who sleeps on my keyboard and locks my computer when I forget to shut the screen for protection
the hamster who is now in another world as he hid & peeked at me from behind the cabinet with his paws up
my friend from 20 years ago who doesn’t send an e-mail but I know has already thought of me today
my dads eyes shiny when he would look into mine and grin
my friend who on Thursday mornings tries to beat me to a hi before she gets my note
my mom bursting into tears when I walked in and surprised her unexpectedly from another state
my tight chest when I’ve said final good-byes
14 February 2008

Now you add your lines.  What has stirred uplifting emotion in you?   What moments?   I am going to add onto this e-mail some thoughts others have had on trying to describe what is love.  I hope that all of you will see past just the romantic love and realize how much your life is surrounded by this word that is so difficult to explain.  It is easier to shut off our emotions and not be vulnerable to pain later because of loving so much.

Helen Keller’s memory of trying to find the meaning of the word love  I remember the morning that I first asked the meaning of the word “love.  .  .  .” Miss Sullivan put her arm gently round me and spelled into my hand, “I love Helen.” “What is love?” I asked.  “Love is something like the clouds that were in the sky before the sun came out,” she replied.  .  .  .”You cannot touch the clouds, you know; but you feel the rain and know how glad the flowers and the thirsty earth are to have it after a hot day.  You cannot touch love either; but you feel the sweetness that it pours into everything.  Without love you would not be happy or want to play.” The beautiful truth burst upon my mind–I felt that these were invisible lines stretched between my spirit and the spirits of others.  Once I knew the depth where no hope was and darkness lay on the face of all things.  Then love came and set my soul free.  Once I fretted and beat myself against the wall that shut me in.  My life was without a past or future, and death a consummation devoutly to be wished.  But a little word from the fingers of another fell into my hands that clutched at emptiness, and my heart leaped up with the rapture of living.  I do not know the meaning of the darkness, but I have learned the overcoming of it.  (Couldn’t we think about that line in itself all day?!?!?!)

Here are a few other sayings I came across that I want to remember, so assume you will want to read also!

A pious man came in lamentation to the great Rabbi Israel ben Eliezer.  His son had forsaken the religion of his people and the man was grief-stricken.  “What shall I do, Rabbi?” cried the father.  “Do you love your son?” the Rabbi asked.  “Of course I do,” said the man.  “Then, said the Rabbi, “love him even more.” (traditional Chassidic Jewish story)

Some emotions don’t make a lot of noise.  It’s hard to hear pride.  Caring is real faint–like a heartbeat.  And pure love–why, some days it’s so quiet, you don’t even know it’s there.  (Erma Bombeck)

One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life: That word is love.  (Sophocles)

And my favorite thought for last that I’ve mulled over since reading it.  A book could be written on this!  Listen to this thought (can you listen to a thought?!?   grin!)

You must learn day by day, year by year to broaden your horizon.  The more things you love, the more you are interested in, the more you enjoy, the more you are indignant about--the more you have left when anything happens.  (Ethel Barrymore)

I love those thoughts.  The more we love, the more that we search to interest us, the more we enjoy – then when something happens to one facet of our life (even when is may be a major component of our life), we still have other treasures that we love when we lose a person or something important.  We can not shut ourselves off.  We need to have the guts to continue to live.  To love.  To take pride in something we do during our day that no one else may know we did (tangible or decisions made others will never know of).  We must continue to fall to our knees and look to the hills where our help comes from.  When I was little my dad had me put my name into I Corinthians 13:4-8.  I have it on a 3×5 card in my Bible.  You may want to do this & read it in your handwriting and put it where you see these goals for each day from now on. 

My goal for today…  “Susan is patient, Susan is kind.  Susan does not envy, she does not boast.  Susan is not proud or self-seeking.  Susan is not easily angered, and she keeps no record of wrongs.  Susan does not delight in evil, but she rejoices in truth.  Susan always protects, Susan always trusts, Susan always hopes, Susan always perseveres.  Susan bears all things, Susan believes all things, Susan hopes all things, and Susan endures all things.  Love Never Ends.  Love Never Fails.  And now, these three remain: faith, hope, and love.  But the greatest of these is love.  (vs.  13)

Happy Valentine’s Day.  Seek and list your treasures.  You won’t be able to stop.  Go back to all your memories that give you the memories of emotion.  Even if the emotion was quiet.  What gave you reason to live?   Write your own poem!  Thank you so much for your friendship, your business, and your time on Thursday mornings.  Go take on your day.  Find someone that needs your smile.  Susan

Latin for this week: 
Dum spiro, spero.  While I breathe, I hope.