Tag Archives: Love

Eulogy for a Humanist

The difference between life and non-life is so slight, isn’t it? Even now, as our friend reclines in this casket, he is barely distinguishable from a week ago when he was merely sleeping. He looks so similar to the irrepressible, playful man we all love that I half-expect him to wink at me during this speech when he thinks nobody is looking.

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Haiku #4 – Golden Poplar

A golden poplar
Leans in from the meadow’s edge,
Trembling like first love. 

<< Haiku #3 – Robin’s Egg

Valuing Love Itself

I started this post all wrong. I was looking for a certain quotation about love, but opened my Kindle to the wrong book — one about computer programming. I searched for the word love, and up came the dedication page:

For Ann Marie: The ever enduring love of my life.

Not the quote I was looking for, but what do you know!? Even software engineers have love at the center of their lives.

Next, I opened the book I had intended to open. It has a high-sounding title, Ethical Empowerment: Virtue Beyond the Paradigms, but it, too, has love at the center:

One of the key arguments of this book is that the basis of morality and its ethical conceptualizations concern nothing less than universal love. (Kindle location 282.)

Although love is at the center of everything from a software developer’s heart to a philosopher’s ethical system, we sometimes value everything about love except love itself.

As the father of six children who range from 18 years old to 29, I have had the pleasure of seeing romantic love, in particular, bloom in many forms. It has not always unfolded according to the prescribed sequence of boy meets girl; they become friends; they go on dates; they get engaged; they somehow survive the planning of a big wedding; they get married; they wait a few years to have kids; they have children of their own; and the cycle repeats.

In fact, it has never unfolded like that. At least not yet, but with 6 kids anything can still happen.

So what’s a parent to do when his or her children don’t follow the traditional path? (A path that is more fiction than tradition, but that’s another story.)

I’ll tell you what I do. I enjoy each flower of love for what it is. If it’s toxic, I might say so, but I need to be sure that the toxin is really in the flower, and not in my own ideas about the flower. That is very rare.

Far more often, each flower is beautiful in its own way. If my children are experiencing love, I can be happy for them — especially if they are doing so on their own heart-felt terms and not on someone else’s agenda. As I said, let’s value and enjoy love itself, rather than everything else about it.

Just the fact that love occurs at all is amazing and beautiful, isn’t it? Who would have thought that particles of matter could float through the universe for billions of years, be cycled through exploding stars, coalesce into a planet, be coaxed out of the slime by Sun and Moon, come to life, and finally evolve to the point where they love each other?

The fact that we get to witness this is pretty sweet, too. I plan to enjoy it!

Shutters

In response to Daylight at Live to Perceive:

Shutters covered a window,
Fastened as instructed,
Shedding rain down and out,
Storm after storm.

Inside, a young woman
Hoped there was more to the world
Than the mud she saw through the louvers
Every time it rained.

She unbolted the shutters
And re-installed them upside-down,
Louvers pitched toward true heaven,
Admitting both rain and clear.

When the world’s tears fell at night,
She let them pour into her room,
Even stretching her hands up to the window
And letting the water run cold down her arms.

She embraced it all,
Just so on clear nights she would see
Pisces swimming bright and true,
Leaping on the white river of stars.

Unaware of Beauty

Magenta Cosmos

Magenta Cosmos (Flickr - click for more)

This morning, I walked through the Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge, where Our Stimulus Dollars have been At Work lining a new driveway with wildflowers. How beautiful! A few weeks ago, the black-eyed Susans had been in bloom, but this time there were lavender and magenta cosmos.

Black-Eyed Susans

Black-Eyed Susans (ILoveMyCamera.com)

What always strikes me when I see a beautiful plant is how amazing it is that the plant can be alive, yet utterly unaware of itself. It might as well be a crystal.

Even if a magenta cosmos could see, it might not think itself beautiful. After all, its beauty is not meant to appeal to its own species, but to its pollinators, who are not even of the same biological kingdom. What would we look like if we had to attract plants instead of each other? What if our reproduction hinged on attracting fungi? Would we look and smell like rotten logs?

How lucky we are to be attracted to each other! How fortunate is the young man who can see his beloved! How blessed is the young woman whose beauty is admired!

Even to be able to love is to have won the cosmic lottery.

Young lovers, the universe has given you the rarest of gifts. May you savor every moment.