Ancient memes opine that we always hurt the ones we love. Rubbish. With love comes empathy and, if we truly loved, we would put ourselves out as an act of empathy. Love involves sacrifice to a degree.
Dad always used to say actions speak louder than words and it’s not far off what I believe.
When I was younger and should have been free to holiday in exotic places, I’d drive to Plymouth several times a year to spend time with my parents, because it made Dad happy. In fact my plan to travel around Europe after school, learning French, German, Italian and Spanish, died a death as Dad didn’t approve and was vociferously unhappy about the potential loss of regular contact.
After Dad died, I used to drive down to Plymouth to take Ma out for meals, or, when she was too poorly, to bring takeaways and have ‘picnics’ in her sitting room so she would know she was important to me.
I also used to treat relatives and friends to days and meals out – ‘shared time’.
Just remembered a ‘shared time’ I took a week off work to ferry a visiting NandD and their two small children from London to Plymouth and other places. Although they paid for the petrol, I was still bossed around like a servant and ended up in tears. Apologies, appreciation and gratitude subsequently received.
But these actions showed I loved them and they were important to me. If you love someone you do make proper time for them, not as part of a rushed schedule, or a one yearly reactive text message.
If you love them, you want to put yourself out for the loved one. To make that special gesture. To make them feel wanted and loved.
If someone is only on your radar as an annual duty, they don’t really love you. Certainly not as an individual soul. Duty may be a kind of caritas but it is not the kind of caritas that lifts up both souls.
Words are cheapened if they are reactive. Even more so when they are tagged onto a general lashing out of justification.
We are lucky to live in times when communicating with almost everyone is generally speedy and simple. Acknowledging someone’s existence in small ways shows they are alive in your world. To never do so, except when pushed, is actually anti-love . It shows a cruel indifference or self-absorption which is almost as bad.
The second sentence of this post (now deleted) mentioned Jesus being misinterpreted – or that I disagreed with Him. In fact, it was not what He said about love but about giving.
A NandD once said to me we get back what we give. Well that is clearly untrue – at least in this time and space, although I do believe there is a spiritual bank balance, and that giving puts you in credit.
But what of the Pauline take on Jesus in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 for this moment in time and space?
“Though I command languages both human and angelic — if I speak without love, I am no more than a gong booming or a cymbal clashing. And though I have the power of prophecy, to penetrate all mysteries and knowledge, and though I have all the faith necessary to move mountains if I am without love, I am nothing. Though I should give away to the poor all that I possess, and even give up my body to be burned if I am without love, it will do me no good whatever. Love is always patient and kind; love is never jealous; love is not boastful or conceited, it is never rude and never seeks its own advantage, it does not take offence or store up grievances. Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but finds its joy in the truth. It is always ready to make allowances, to trust, to hope and to endure whatever comes. Love never comes to an end. But if there are prophecies, they will be done away with; if tongues, they will fall silent; and if knowledge, it will be done away with. For we know only imperfectly, and we prophesy imperfectly; but once perfection comes, all imperfect things will be done away with. When I was a child, I used to talk like a child, and see things as a child does, and think like a child; but now that I have become an adult, I have finished with all childish ways. Now we see only reflections in a mirror, mere riddles, but then we shall be seeing face to face. Now I can know only imperfectly; but then I shall know just as fully as I am myself known. As it is, these remain: faith, hope and love, the three of them; and the greatest of them is love.”
So to keep caritas and not ‘take offence or store up grievances’, what is to be done if time and again nothing ever changes?
It is human to feel pain. Ask Jesus! That is the continuing challenge of the human experience. Sensible people avoid putting their hands back in the fire but isn’t that what spiritual evolution requires?
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