“I Love You”

I Love You… 

Three big, little words. Big in it’s meaning or meanings but small in a sense; in the amount of words and effort it takes to write or say the sentence. It is the sentence that every woman as well as every man in love wants to hear. Every child wants to hear their parents tell them these three words, even though they may not know why. There is, some sort of comfort in these words, some strange sense of …a warm blanket or blankie on a cold night. Words uttered on a death bed or last dying breath, give us a sense of comfort knowing that the person leaving truly loved us. But do we really know what love is?

love These three words make many of us uncomfortable to hear and say. I am at the top of that list. Yet, like others I love just as deeply as the next person. My wife wouldn’t have been with me if I didn’t. But she knew how I felt and I also told her. I thought about writing this for some time now but hadn’t had time nor was I making the time to do it. But I found myself forced to write on this subject. Why? Because a dear friend of mine went away for a while… it’s not the first time we have been separated. But twice I went through the same thing, this time more pronounced though. I couldn’t figure it out and then it hit me about 4 days later…

happy-married-couple

The dictionary defines love as a feeling of strong affection or an attraction based on sexual desire. The latter definition is where most people’s understanding of Love exist. Rarely, does a person see love without a sexual desire attached to it. It is that thinking, that causes a heap of trouble. We often jump straight to sex in a relationship and when it sours, so goes the relationship. Now, the dictionary did attempt to give more than just one meaning for love. But the Greeks did it much better , in fact, they have 4 to 6 different meanings for the word love. 05-secrets-of-happily-married-couples-kids        storgē  that familiar feeling, for instance the love  parents have for children and children towards their parents. That “I know you, you belong to me” kind of love. Agápe is one of the highest forms of expressive love. The greatest example is God’s love towards us, God’s love for mankind/humans. It is a verb, it is the command to do, is it the unconditional, it is the charity, it is the love that compels us to stop and buy a sandwich for that hungry person. When Jesus said to love one another it was not only a command but it was this kind of love he meant.

Senior man giving woman piggyback ride

Dear reader, are you starting to see that there is more to these 3 little words? Is it becoming clearer that perhaps the entertainment industry is just absolutely wrong in what they purport is love. Anyway, let’s move on.

Philía …ah.. though we have Heard it translated as the brotherly love, it means friend.  marriedPhilia is a deep love for a friend, friendship love. That deep connection to the one that makes you laugh, maybe gives good advice. They are probably the first shoulder you cry on. The friend you can rely on, someone you feel an affinity for but never thought of your closeness as love. This isn’t a sexual thing, this is not a same sex attraction thing. When I was in my teens I had a homeboy/friend whom I would have done any for and likewise. We were inseparable, if you saw me, Larry was not far behind. He also had some fine older sisters to (that’s a different kind of love). His mother loved me as her own, always offered food and kindness. I’d help her upstairs with her groceries when she came into the building. Once I was so high (don’t tell my mother she doesn’t know this story) I couldn’t move or go anywhere. I think it was my first time…before that I didn’t smoke weed or did drugs and my friend always protected me from it. When someone tried to pass me the joint Larry would say “Ty doesn’t smoke” then I’d be passed a beer instead. As far as I knew he didn’t smoke either, so the day I saw him, my ace, my best friend smoking a joint I was heartbroken. The next time someone offered it to me I took it and it didn’t end well for me. In it’s truest form Larry’s philia love kicked up a notch. He protected me from further harm. He took me home, well his to house and I slept in his brother’s bed. His brother was a bouncer at a local club, so he wouldn’t be home that night. Larry checked on me to see if I was cool ,the next thing I remember was him waking me up so that we could get to school. After our friend, who was the youngest of the crew, died tragically; we all split into different directions. I plunged into work and walked away from school…

asian-couple Now, philia can lead to other kinds on love, we’ll get to that later. But for now let’s move on because you are probably wondering what happened to me “4 days later…

As I stated earlier, a friend went away and all of a sudden I felt this strange feeling. Now I couldn’t put my finger on it but when I did it was like an elevator had a sudden dropped. If you’ve been in one when that happens, you get the analogy. Your heart skips, you reach for the sides, your eyes widen, you’re thrust into a panic “this can’t be happening!!”…but it is. I have known of this person for at least 3 years but didn’t get to know them until about 4 or 5 months ago. Over those months I discovered the enjoyment of life again. A month or so ago, we grabbed some dinner before going home to our families. While we were talking, somehow Sharol (my late wife) came up, I didn’t realize I had never told her the story. I went into the full details, something I hadn’t done since talking to the doctors at the hospital, when I saw the shocked look I knew that we hadn’t talked about it before. But I enjoyed the time, it was casual, no pressure to perform. We’ve talked many times about the world we both work in and other things, like my very short trip into the world of online dating. Never again!  But isn’t that what friends are for? Sharing time together. So, what was my issue? I had gotten into a funk, a blue mood if you will. Then a thought came to me I didn’t get a text today. It took a couple of days but while I was sitting next to my 13 year old daughter eating dinner, the elevator dropped. I told her what it was that had been troubling me and in true Bland sarcastic fashion, without skipping a beat, this kid said “Aww… you miss your best friend..?” We laughed. But she was right! I missed my friend! the proof, dear reader, was when I got a text later that night and my mood lightened. Now, I honestly don’t know if this friend feels as close to me as I do her. I have always been a loyal friend to my friends that doesn’t always mean our friends view us in the same light…6-fabulous-dating-tips-for-married-couples

Eros. The 4th and final of the Greek meanings I will deal with. Eros, is the intimate expression of love. The sexual expression of that close bond, the intense attraction of love that causes your mind, your body and your soul to explode with passion for the one that has you heart. It is this love that the entertainment industry parades in front of us and our children, as LOVE. They skip all the other expressions and meanings of love and head straight for the bed. So do most of us and we all lose out on a deeper relationship, friendship, companionship, something that lasts forever. Something, that every married couple knows. Charm and beauty won’t last, neither does sex! You will get old, you will get sick, the kids will leave your home, you will not always have money, someone will lose a job… one of you will die. If you base a relationship on sex as your expression of love or it is the only meaning of love you have, you are in grave danger. If you skip these, dear I say, stages of love, then you will not have a lasting relationship.

Listen, before I was Sharol’s husband and lover, I was just a choir mate. A friend who would talk about children’s TV shows , because we had young kids at home. We called each other at night and talked, many of those nights she fell asleep on the phone. Then came the feelings of wanting to do anything for her and with her. What followed was a different expression of love. I knew then that I wanted to marry her, but it all started slowly drawing our hearts together, moving through the multiple expressions of love. the-pearl-africa-story-teller-app One last thing, dear reader, before I go. Yes, love is a scary thing sometimes. Even scarier to admit that you feel love. Pop culture has all but destroyed love, it’s meaning, it’s purpose and it’s passion. It’s over use of the word and the twisted value of it, has made it meaningless. Yet, God has created in us this thing that draws us to seek after it. First from him and then from others. How ever which order you put it in, you are still drawn to it. Do I love my kids and family? Absolutely. Do I love my coworkers? Yes, and pray for them as well. Agape will do that to you. Do I you my friend? I absolutely do. Is it Eros?  No… It’s something much more, something that surpasses sexual attraction and only the grown-ups in the room understand that companionship is the greater love. It is the closeness that leads to marriage and Eros. So, sorry youngins’ it’s not the other way around. There were days when I walked down the streets or even sat at my desk in despair and out of nowhere, I’d get a text are you okay?  That was the Lord sending me a life raft. I’m sure she had no clue she was being used to brighten my day. Or on another day when I was feeling like the only person on planet I’d  get something like this, Hey, did you eat yet?  It is bread crumbs like these that opened a door and lead to a friendship that I have come to value. So much so, that when my friend went away I missed her terribly. This, dear reader, is the effects of love in all of it’s glorious Greek meanings. We can’t escape it because love in all of it’s forms surround us. If we have a better understanding of it, which I hope you have just gotten, then we can stop translating it into that despairing image of love that we see on screens… and enjoy a life of loving and being loved by others.

Until next time…love1

 

“Why Ferguson Is Not My Reality” :My American Experience Part 3

When I started writing this 3 part piece it was right after the Ferguson Missouri shooting. I had been watching the news while away on vacation. I don’t often watch the news or check emails nor my cell when I’m on vacation with my family. But it had been about 2 weeks since the story broke.
I was flipping through channels, it was cable TV, we don’t have cable at home and I am glad for that.

image

image

I watched scene after scene of police in riot gear and protesters yelling, screaming and throwing things at the cops. Then there were the people being interviewed.

image

One guy had the audacity, to have his hands full of stolen loot, to say he doing it because of police brutality. As the camera turned I saw young and old black men with handkerchiefs over their faces shouting about there being no peace.

image

There was another group of people with arms locked slowly walking forward, asking people to move back behind the lines. They were also asking people to go home. They meant the non-residents who came and agitated things…
I didn’t understand it then or during my parents young days neither do I understand it now! Why is it, that when things go wrong in mostly poor and predominantly black areas of a city, do people rob stores, damage property not owned by them and expect the outside viewing public will be sympathetic?
People destroy the very business creating an opportunity to work,  they destroy the people, family…businesses that service their underserved neighborhoods. Personally, I would close my business and take the financial hit. Because if you’re mad at someone, then you should take the fight to them. Not to the guy standing next to you ordering dinner for his family. But that’s not what happens….People destroy their own homes! “Stupid is as stupid does”- Forest Gump
Then folks like

image

Sharpton roll into town chanting that ol’ negro spiritual “No Justice,  No Peace”. Poor guy, he’s shuck with Jackson (and others like them) In a Star Trek like “time bubble”…1960. Their “dead language” tactics cause more harm than good,

image

image

Yet family after family are suckered in by their foolishness.

image

You see, I grew up, as well as many in my generation; in a less exposed and much more free time in America. Now, isn’t ironic that, that generation is in charge of squeezing out most of our freedoms. The very kids that grew up riding bikes without helmets create laws and such, that today’s kids not only ride on the sidewalks! But they dress like NFL players to do so.
We were less exposed to the rape of “little Ann” a block away. Our parents were responsible for relaying the message to us and were in complete control of our safety/well-being. We kids & teens may not have known about it for a week. But by then someone had the actual facts and the parents knew who the rapist on the block and in the area was. Leaving us to be free to play, fight, laugh or go see a movie (in groups).
Today, however, everything both good and bad is sent instantly to everyone…kids, teens, adults and seniors unfiltered.  It’s interesting how the World Wide Web was supposed to bring the world closer. Too many times dangerous, damaging and negative information is regurgitated. Causing the massive American populous to be discontent, angry, rude, un-American,  unsympathetic, so on and so on. Not too long ago people read reputable newspapers and asked the people “in charge” to get their facts. Now, far too many have a Restless Leg Syndrome reaction to the beep and vibration on their phones, tablets etc.
I had no reaction to the events in Missouri around my children, save to point out the foolishness of the looters and so-called leaders.  Even though shootings and such happen in this country. It is not the whole of the American experience. It is not like that in “Every” state,  county, city or town. Not every cop is sadistic, though too many give the great ones a bad name. Just like saying “All” blacks listen to and like Rap. It’s just not so. But movie after movie, tv show after tv show and YouTube clip after clip show it… so it must be true!
This is the same process that fuels the unfiltered passion and rage of our youth. I am in constant battle with the pop culture to instill a “critical thinking” mind in my children.  As well as a sense of a larger world. All but one has a passport (we have 6), 2 have traveled to foreign countries to help others, 4 have traveled to different parts of America to help others. My youngest son (now 16) at 13, spent his summer vacation on a Native American Reservation in Arizona building porches. Next year, he’ll go with his school to New Orleans to help there.
I told them to keep their passports current just in case a job opened up in another country. We also save and taught them, those with children, to save through out the year for a vacation outside of where we live…why? To experience other people, cultures and different parts of our country. The same way my mother did; pre-internet 60’s and 70’s.
It paid off, I have a broader view of the world. It started with a library card…I’d ride my bike (no pads or helmet) about 8 blocks away, obeying traffic rules and using my hand signals daddy taught me; I didn’t read much then but I rented “Big Band” records to hear my daddy’s music.
When you only see one representation of yourself, of your community, of your country and if it happens to be a constant flow of negative images, messages and information you’re bound to hate yourself…
That’s why Ferguson is not my reality, not my American experience…