Sometimes I come across something on the net that is so heartfelt, so moving, that it reminds me why I started this blog in the first place. I won’t ruin it by saying too much – Just read parts of it below. And, needless to say, check, out the whole ‘Love one Another‘ blog post.
Love one Another
Do we know the people we love? We say we do, we say we love them, we feel love when we think about them – and often, those real moments of love in which we can feel the love itself – are hidden in the folds of daily life, the worry that permeates our world in these times, the routine of automatic communication that leaves no room for the beauty of what love truly is.
When I first started in transformation education at Landmark Education, there was a course I took in which we had to create a “map” of our closest circle – those people who are in our lives on a regular basis, with whom we interact daily, or at least weekly, who create the fabric of our lives.
My map was virtually empty – my son and my ex-husband and a sprinkling of friends around the country. I realized that I didn’t have a circle – I didn’t have a community, I didn’t have many people with whom to weave a rich, textured fabric in my own life.
In that moment, I took a stand that my family would be what I would transform for myself – I would get in communication, I would learn about their lives, I would be there for them, I would love them.
So, let me tell you about my brother, Ralph. He is strong and dependable and has always been there for his family. He’s not quite a year younger than I am – something we joke about, that we are the same age for four days out of the year. He’s married to his high school sweetheart and has four girls, Nicole, Tiffany, and the twins, Jacki and Julie. He is an engineer by education and worked at Rohm and Haas for all of his working years, retiring in January of 2007.
And he never talks. Not that he can’t talk – he doesn’t talk. Or he didn’t talk to me, anyway. To illustrate, I was in a car with him for a long ride about 10 years ago, babbling away in the seat beside him until I realized he hadn’t said anything for a quite some time. I said, “My jaws hurt from talking so much! It’s your turn. Tell me what has been going on with you.” After we laughed at the strange injury to my jaw, I shut up and we continue driving.
We rode in silence for 15 minutes. Finally, the silence was unbearable! I turned to him and said, “I can’t stand it any longer…! Aren’t you going to say anything?” We both laughed and that was the end of that. We continued on and I talked the entire time. I never did know anything that was going on for him.
I had rarely seen or spoken to him since.
I took my stand for love and family. I started calling my brothers and sister… and little by little, I was invited to family events and dinners. The summer after, I was invited to my brother, Ralph’s, house in Avalon with his family for their yearly summer vacation.
Before I left, I actually thought about who I would BE in the presence of his family — I didn’t want it to go the way it’s always gone – a lot of automatic interactions, a lot of opinions and defenses, a lot of awkward moments – and my brother, once again silent in my presence. And so, I created myself as being Love, no matter what came up, no matter what anyone said — I would not babble, I would not lecture, I would not talk all the time – I would not defend my opinions or positions about anything. I would just let it all be the way it was and simply love them.
The week was beautiful — the grandchildren were there – Sophia, Luke, and Olivia — and so it had that magical quality that young children always bring to a space… laughing and running around and giggling – running into the waves at the beach and getting sand all over us — I let myself get carried away with it all.
Finally, on the last day I was there, everyone else had gone to the beach and my brother and I were talking at the house about the plant he had just finished building in Shanghai. He had spent almost 2 weeks out of every month traveling to China for the three years prior to his retirement. He mentioned that he had pictures of the plant.
Ordinarily, I wouldn’t have asked to see them. My Goodness! It was a plant for — I didn’t even know what kind of products! This time, I heard something in my brother’s voice…. I asked to see the pictures. He seemed surprised but pulled out his laptop and started showing me hundreds of pictures of this project in Shanghai that had consumed his life for all this time.
The more pictures he showed me, the more he spoke — he pointed out the glass walls, the interior details, and the “water element” that the Chinese people believe is good luck… how challenging it was to create this side of the building or that pond…. I heard his admiration for the Chinese people and his love of their country.
I was looking at the pictures and I was glancing at my brother’s face… how animated he became as he spoke of something that he had devoted his life to over the past three years…! I realized that this was the first time I had ever truly listened to him. He had a whole life I never knew about – a passion that excited him and was a driving force in his life – all hidden from my view!
I was overwhelmed with love for him.
I was suddenly sorry that this had only come up on the last day. I wanted to sit there and listen to him for hours more… I didn’t want this time to end.
Soon, it was time for me to leave to take the bus back to Manhattan.
I gathered my belongings and positioned my suitcase by the door. I walked back to where my brother was sitting, now watching one of his favorite car races on television. I leaned over and kissed him on the cheek, “I love you so much,” I said and turned to go. I heard his voice as I walked away….
“Same here,” he said.