October 31, 2013: Why is this date so important? It’s Halloween? It’s the day after the Red Sox won the World Series at Fenway Park? These are important, however for me the significance is that this would have been my Mom’s 83rd birthday, so it’s the perfect day to share Lesson #2: Love is the answer! There are so many vital lessons Mom and Dad taught me throughout my life, but the importance of love, unconditional love, is likely the foundation for all good things in my life. I am who I am because you loved me Mom, no doubt about it! I believe the gift of unconditional love gives you the best chance of loving yourself and others and that this is a key to a happy and fulfilled life.
Ever wondered why most songs are written about love? I was listening to some music yesterday, and Wynonna Judd’s song “It All Comes Down to Love” came on and really made me think of Mom. The lyrics say “there is only one answer, it all comes down to love”. This love starts with loving yourself, which can be harder than loving others for many. Mom was my biggest fan, even when I wasn’t a big fan of myself. Her steadfast and unconditional love gave me the basis to learn to love myself and then others unconditionally. Love from and for others, whether it be with your God, family, friends, partners, or pets adds depth and meaning to our existence in ways that are hard to put into words. Love makes the highs higher, helps keep the lows minimal, and makes the unimaginable manageable.
I know some weren’t as blessed as I was to have this unconditional love from my Mom and Dad, but this doesn’t mean you can’t give it to yourself, or find it in others so please don’t give up, it’s worth the effort. There are others who may avoid love to avoid the pain of loss, so listen up. The saying “it is better to have love and lost than not to have loved at all” is so very true, I know this first hand. Losing my Mom and my wife Judy within 6 months of each other will likely be the worst thing that will ever happen to me, however the kind and depth of love I had with each of them I didn’t even know existed until I experienced it. I’m not saying the loss isn’t incredibly painful; I’m saying the benefits outweigh the risks. In addition, they might be gone, but their love continues to enrich my life each day. That can never be taken away.
Love enriches life on it’s own, but it also provides other feelings that make the benefits exponentially better, like a feeling of safety. Quite frankly, I think feeling safe is only second to feeling loved. The importance of feeling safe was highlighted in caring for Judy and Mom towards the end of their lives. Both of these amazingly courageous and gracious women expressed that feeling safe and loved was always important, but now helped them not fear death. If you have a good circle of love around you and you feel safer and with less fear, you just might live life more fully because of that “safety net” of love. See how this works? It’s like this cascading set of feelings that support who you are and what you might be in this earthly life, and that all begins with love.
Happy Birthday Mom! No matter what the question, your love was and is my answer!
Ponder this: Who provides you the most love in your life? What does that love mean for you? Do they know this ? What might be missing in your life? How could love of yourself and from others, change this?