Bits and Bites on love

Bits and Bites of Everyday Life

Let there be love!

Image: Photo of a colourful bird, provided by Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair.

“Love is life… and if you miss love, you miss life.” (Leo Buscaglia)

By Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair
True North Perspective

Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair is the author of The Neglected Garden and two French novels. Visit her website to learn more www.albertevilleneuve.ca

Image: Detail of photo of Alberte Villeuneuve-SinclairValentine’s Day and Family Day always linger in my heart for a long time. For some, love is but a fleeting notion and for others, it is a lifelong journey. My local newspaper reported there had been 21 different domestic dispute incidents in the span of three weeks in Russell County. Sad!

Why does love so often turn sour? Why do lovers so often become adversaries? As I wrote in 2011, learning to love is a lifelong journey. Confusion, mixed messages, loneliness, past neglect will often limit a person’s capacity to really love. Our culture, our society and our parents have a powerful influence on how we love during our life.

Love means to commit oneself without guarantee, to give oneself completely in the hope that our love will produce love in the loved one.”

As we navigate life, we take our clues from different people. Our parents are, of course, our first models. If the quality of their interactions as a couple and with their children was lacking in maturity and kindness, we will have to choose to break away or repeat the same patterns. But if our parents were mature and secure in their relationship, if there was trust, freedom, support and respect within the family unit, we will try to emulate these loving ways.

Of course, our grandparents and relatives, neighbours, teachers and favourite TV and film stars will also influence our path in the love department. Our first experience may not be perfect but if both partners are willing to create solutions instead of focusing on problems and shortcomings and laying blame, love will flourish.

Falling in love is easy but staying in love is something special.”

Everyday living brings constant challenges and we often navigate in rough waters but the most significant quality of the love relationship is in the details. The small everyday gestures and things we do for our loved ones are what matter the most.

Let me give you an example! When I retired, my husband had to share the house with me in the afternoon. He was used to working alone in his office. All was quiet. He could concentrate on the bookkeeping tasks and returning morning calls he had missed while working in corporation offices. One afternoon, as I was folding clothes and ironing in the kitchen, I turned on the music in the living-room. All of a sudden, Brian stomped out of the office and turned the music off. I was insulted! I picked up my car keys and left. I drove around for a while and then stopped to visit a friend and told her I wasn’t going to tiptoe around the house all afternoon. She invited me to stay for dinner and I accepted. I understood Brian’s need for quiet but music had always been an important part of my life. When I came home, Brian had bought a new radio and CD player for the kitchen. He simply said, “You will be able to enjoy your music in the kitchen, even transport it outdoors if you wish.” What a beautiful gesture! We hadn’t fought or argued and a solution had been found to everyone’s satisfaction. We hugged and kissed and I loved him even more for his caring initiative.

“Too often, we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” (Leo Buscaglia)

Image: Photo of an Ottawa man named Curtis, provided by the author.A perfect example of this is the story, reported by CTV’s Joanne Schnurr in late February, of 54 year-old Curtis who sixteen years ago lived on the streets in downtown Ottawa and used to collect scraps of food at the Rideau Centre food court. A kind young man who spotted Curtis started leaving a full meal for him every Tuesday until Curtis moved on.

“It helped me understand the power of one, for lack of better term. Just what a random act of kindness for one person, what a difference you can make in one person’s life,” explained Curtis who now works part-time and lives in Toronto.

The stranger’s actions gave him hope and the impetus to seek help for his mental health issues. Curtis expressed the wish to reconnect with the one he calls his “little Giant” so he can shake his hand, thank him and maybe take him out for lunch.

Leo Buscaglia believed that for every problem, there is a solution and these solutions are within ourselves. I hold the same beliefs and hope that we can teach the younger generation to honour life with love. Blessings!

 

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