The meaning of love

 

 

What is love? It is a question that is asked often and has many different answers. The answer that I give is “enlightened fulfilment.” It is a spiritual connection between two people which is why we can still feel the love if they are in a different room, country or have left our world to rest in peace.

Love makes us smile and it makes us cry. A world without love would be like having no sun to bring us light and warmth. Everyone knows that the sun is there even when it is behind a cloud or shining somewhere else. Love is the same. It never leaves us but so many children grow up having to find it. Love is the greatest and most important subject that a child can be taught. It is a cliché but if they love themselves then their life will be a lot less complicated. If you tell a child that he or she is worthless or stupid then they will believe it. Love starts with raising self-esteem and giving hugs.

Jordan is a good example. Not the country but the model Katie Price. She has spent years searching for love, happiness and contentment. Thousands make the same mistake of thinking that love is all about being loved and those three little words. Breast implants might get you noticed but they won’t change who you are or make you love yourself any more. If a person has low self-worth then they tend to depend on external factors rather than internal. One of my favourite lines is from a song by James – “You will not find love if you think you’re not good enough.”

I suppose the “bigger breasts” equivalent for men would be penis size and either surgical enhancement or a belief in enlargement creams. If the cream actually worked, there would be a lot of guys wondering around with giant hands. Other external factors such as drugs, impulsive shopping or half a million Twitter followers are a poor substitute for internal love.

I’m not sure why a lot of relationships fall apart and family feuds never get resolved but I do know that bitterness and resentment is a tiresome emotion. I was watching the Jeremy Kyle show at the Gym last week. This show never fails to amaze me and it always makes me feel good about my own life. I was peddling on the exercise bike listening to a youth defend peddling drugs. I was running on the tread mill listening to a girl’s story about running away. I was lifting weights as I witnessed the end of a relationship owing to a wife putting on too much weight. These are real people, sharing their unresolved problems in front of a camera and an audience. If you can’t communicate with your parents or your children because of anger, disappointment or upset then Jeremy isn’t going to perform a miracle but I guess there is hope for a happy future. Life begins with a family of at least two people and with loves help, new families are created as time passes. Without love it might be a different story.

I will never forget a true story of a man named John from a friend’s neighbourhood and a stark reminder about the importance of love in our lives.

John was retired and lived alone in his 3 bedroom detached house. His only contact with the outside world was a weekly visit to the post office and a supermarket. Occasionally there would be brief discussions with angry neighbours as they knocked on his door to complain about the loud music. John was partially deaf and needed to crank up the volume to enjoy the only sound in his house. In July last year all contact ceased but life continued outside of his front door. The music could no longer be heard and the only visitor to enter the front gate was the postman.

It was the first day of September when Gladys stopped abruptly in front of John’s house. She had noticed the full letterbox before but had passed on by. Gladys’s mind and heart was racing. There had been no loud music for weeks. Gladys had not passed John on the street or seen him in the post office either during the whole of summer. She opened the front gate and reluctantly knocked on John’s blue front door. After knocking loudly and ringing the bell three times, Gladys knelt down on the doorstep and proceeded to remove the mail that was jammed into the letterbox so she could shout his name through it. A buzzing sound filled her ears as she looked through the opening in the door. Gladys brought her hand to her mouth in shock and to protect herself from the Bluebottle flies that were using the letterbox to fly into the light on her side of the door.

John had been dead for nearly two months and Gladys was the first person to spare him a thought. I find it very sad and disturbing that someone can live a lifetime, yet die lonely.

I was a teenager when I first heard Bette Midler sing a song called “Hello in there” and I have smiled at the elderly ever since. These are my favourite verses…

You know that old trees just grow stronger,
and old rivers grow wilder every day,
but old people, they just grow lonesome
waiting for someone to say,
“Hello in there. Hello”

 

So if you’re walking down the street sometime
and you should spot some hollow ancient eyes,
don’t you pass them by and stare
as if you didn’t care.
Say, “Hello in there. Hello.”

 

I know the importance of love in my life. I took it for granted when Sarah was alive but death changes everything. I had to restore my faith in love and find it again. Cherish your family and the people you love and smile at the grumpy old sods passing you by. You might make them feel less lonely by sharing your warmth and kindness. One smile might make their winter feel like summer.

The meaning of love

23 comments on “The meaning of love

  1. Cinta García (@Austenite78) on said:

    Lovely post, and so true. I had a relationship of almost two years with a guy. We broke up our relationship last October. He was Italian, and I am Spanish. We lived in different countries, and we saw each other not as often as we wanted. Yet, our love was very strong. Still is. Circumstances just made us fall apart. Anyway, my point is that you can love someone regardless of the distance, because if you feel loved, that is the best feeling in the world. When you are in love you feel like you can do everything, it gives you strength, it makes you brave. When you lose love, it is hard to find that love again, but it is not impossible, mainly because we NEED to love people. Any kind of love: children, parents, brothers, sisters, friends, even from people who you have never seen before. That’s the magic of love. Congratulations for another great post, Darren.

    • Darren on said:

      Thank you Cinta. I always appreciate how much time you spend on your kind comments. I also feel guilty for not spending a similar amount of time leaving comments on your wonderful blog http://cintascorner.wordpress.com/ I will try harder to manage my time better. Darren

  2. Morgan Prince on said:

    This post almost made me cry! The story about John was very sad and it did make me think about all the old people you see everyday just going through the motions. I think I’ll save a smile for them next time.

    Love is a wonderful thing and should be cherished and shared as much as possible, whether that’s with a partner or your children or a friend. Or even a stranger in the street.

    A moving post Darren. Thanks for sharing.

    Morgan x

  3. Gill Wyatt on said:

    This is a really thought-provoking blog entry Darren. I worked as a nurse in a Stroke Rehab ward for 5 years and a lot of the patients were elderly. It was surprising how many of them didn’t want to go home when they were better because at home, they hardly saw a soul all day. At least in hospital there were other people and there was activity going on around them. We all need love and we all need other people. Keep up the blog posts, they are truly inspiring.

    • Darren on said:

      Thank you Gill. Your comments mean a lot to me. I really hope that when I’m old I get more than the one smile from my teeth in the jar by side of my bed. Darren

  4. Angela on said:

    This is my first time to you blog and it is wonderful! I love this post… it is so TRUE when they say “Love Makes The World Go Round” and cliche, but true. Without relationships and our connections with people that we love, life would be a pretty lonely existence. Two months… wow, It is very sad that John had no one in his life that cared for him enough to even noticed that he hadn’t been out in a while. That made me think about relationships that we may take for granted on a daily basis. Expecting the person to always be there when we decide to notice them. I have always loved and enjoyed the elderly! They have lived longer than me and experienced so much more. They could teach us all a thing or two. You have also made me think about my relationships and if everyone I care about, knows how much that I love them. I will have to remind them! Beautiful post!

    • Darren on said:

      Thank you Angela. I have a huge grin on my face after reading your comments. Thank you for taking the time to visit and read my blog. Darren

  5. Sheena on said:

    Darren you write so beautifully, and this post has a number of very important messages for individuals and society….it really rang home true for me.
    I walk my little grandson home from school some days and there are a couple of ‘old ladies’ who sit in their windows and wave as we pass. They wave because we wave and when we stop one of them always gets up and comes to say hello. I love the fact that I can take time to do that; I used to work 12 hours a day and hardly had time to breathe (although a fabulous job).

    I am delighted that I found your blog on Twitter, what talents you have.

    • Darren on said:

      Sheena I am delighted that you wrote such a fantastic comment. Comments such as yours gives me more confidence in my writing and my forthcoming book. I was really worried about publishing especially with such a delicate subject like breast cancer and grief including child bereavement. I have laid myself bare in the book but am now looking forward to sharing it after being on twitter for a few months with my blog. Thank you for taking the time to read my posts. Darren.

      • Sheena on said:

        I can understand your concerns Darren. I wrote my midwifery memoirs and I was a little anxious about some of the content. But I have had masses of positive feedback, so much so that I am planning another book. It’s so exciting. At the last count (2 weeks ago) more than 38,000 copies were sold….so don’t worry! Good Luck!

  6. Michelle on said:

    What a beautiful post, so well written. You are so right that bitterness and resentment are tiresome emotions, I see the effects in a couple of members of my family – its exhausting to all of us and so sad.
    I work as a housing officer in my day job and love visiting some of the elderly supported schemes, even the most grumpy of them start to come out of themselves when they realise that they always get a smile. Being thoughtful and kind usually costs us nothing but can mean the world to the people we come in contact with.
    Thanks for such a lovely and thought provoking blog post.

  7. I came from a very under privileged background, but was always reminded to always say hello to passers by, my dad told me it always surprised them and made them smile, and it was true!

    So 4 children later, I have passed this reminder on, and everyday we say Hello to our old friends, neighbours and passers by, knowing we may be the only people they talk to in a day!
    Kind acts and acknowledgements are free, and so rewarding x

  8. Sherry Hornagold-Prosser on said:

    A beautiful piece. Having been widowed and found love again I fully appreciate much of what you say.

  9. Lottie Lockwood on said:

    What an incredible post…very touching Darren x

    • Darren on said:

      Thank you Lottie. I was reading your blog today in Starbucks and nearly choked on my coffee from laughing so much. Darren

  10. Michelle Winchester on said:

    Wow amazing post kept me reading it for sure. I’m also remembered why i’m always smiling at people in the street even those i don’t know or get in your way when your walking about and then they decide to stop all of a sudden. I’ve been learning to love myself again as my last relationship left me low and down on myself and men altogether. Having God in my life has taught me alot too and now reading ur blog has helped too Thanks keep up the good work. Also ur right we do take love for granted at times untill we loose the ones we love who ever they are.

  11. The Purple Lady on said:

    Thank you for sending this out along the wires today. I loved every word of it. I most appreciated how you ended it on an anti-ageism note. Someday everyone becomes old if they have the luxury of living a long life.

  12. The Writers' House UK on said:

    One of the six basic human needs is connection and we all need it in some form or other. I guess we all take things for granted. Another lovely post, Darren.

  13. Debyl1 on said:

    I was a nurse in aged care and now my mum is in a nursing home.I go to visit her daily but I also visit and help out with others there as so many do not get visitors.
    The joy I get from the smiles on their faces when I offer them my kindness is worth its weight on gold.When they reach out and touch my hand with a beaming smile on their face it brings a swelling in my heart.
    Thankyou for writing such a beautiful post and reminding us that the aged still have feelings and needs.To reach out to them you get so much more back.
    Everyone should try it.It is like sunshine to the soul.

  14. Anisa Chez Akchih on said:

    Hello Darren, you blogs bounce around my heart and soul for hours,sometimes days afterwards..you leave such an imprint on my heart and in my mind.
    We always take for granted the people we love and care for until it’s too late..and this doesn’t have to be a partner..it can be a friend also…we are all guilty,for not picking up the phone when a thought jumps in our mind..too busy with life..but then something happens and we have a different kind of guilt!!
    Just under 3 years ago my ex-husband took his own life and devastated our 3 beautiful children’s lives as well as mine and many others…
    As his ex wife and friend..3 months leading up to his death…he visited me every day, cried and talked continuously..and I supported him, pushed for every available help out there…
    What breaks my heart to this day,is how much I asked his parents and brothers help to take him back home to Norfolk, where they were every day…they said ‘No’ , even after he was on life support after the first serious attempt..only his brother came down….his family shut me out…it wasn’t until 4 weeks later when he succeeded did they bother to come down, and that was for his funeral!!
    They blamed me for his death…and I find that sad…we had been split over ten years and he was with Emma for 8 of those…so it still baffles me…but I know…deep down..they put there blame on me..because they realise they failed there son when he needed them the most….I don’t feel anger or bitterness towards them..for I am a lovely woman with a lovely soul…I just feel pity for them..for they have to live with this …he was a bit like this poor guy who died alone..Russell died alone, most probably scared..and he was so popular and had a strong family link…and in his last few months,out of all these people/family/friends..he turned to the one person who loved him the most,even after the divorce…he turned to his loving Ex Wife,who he knew,would understand and know him so well.
    I miss him so much, more so than when we were a couple,he broke my heart but he also helped to heal it too…he’s here with me, and that’s cool…but he makes me more thankfull for my life than anyone else and every day I look at our children,I feel truly blessed xxx

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