Bits and Bites of Everyday Life

 

Choosing to live with love on a daily basis ...

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

Have you ever loved and lost? Have you awakened and realized that the love of your life is gone forever? All the little things you shared cannot be revisited; they are but memories. I have loved and lost… After Brian died, it was painful to hear his voice message on his office answering machine and know he wouldn’t be coming home in the afternoon. Never was I more aware that we all have our individual body scent as when I opened his closet or his dresser drawers. It would fade away one day, I knew. I missed our goodbye kisses when one or the other left home, that caring wave of the hand from the living-room window that said “Have a safe journey! I love you!”… But I also knew I would love again.

Learning to love is a lifelong journey and every individual loves in a different way. 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 very powerful influence on how we will love during our life.

What is acceptable? What are the options? What are the limits? How did your parents show affection? If the love they demonstrated was immature, confusing, highly possessive or exclusive, destructive or erratic, this is what you probably learned. Then, when it was time to test your wings with your first teenage love, you may have become testy, arrogant, manipulative, clingy, vulnerable or aloof… You may have failed that first test and carried a sour taste of love for a long time. You may also have decided never to be vulnerable again.

But if your parents were mature and secure in their relationship, if there was trust, freedom, support and respect within the family unit, you probably tried to emulate these loving ways. Your teachers most certainly had an impact on your outlook too. If they were cold, inflexible and eager to punish every erring way, you may have doubted your freedom to be you in relationships with others. But if they were caring and encouraged you to pursue your talents, if they were ready and willing to listen to your questions or your grief, you probably built a trusting relationship with the world. Was school a prison or a world of opportunity where one learns and builds self-confidence and makes friends? With the latter, the life map you drew was full of positive signs and interesting avenues.

Either way, the first printed version of your love life may have been forged… unless you sought betterment in the way of self-help books and seminars, mentors or counselors at one point in your education.

I have to admit I am terribly worried about the language, behaviour and attitude of many teenagers and young adults in their interactions and relationships with both sexes. When I walk by teenagers and they make crude remarks, yell obscenities, push and shove one another, I worry that they will leave the school system confused, lonely, lost, mad at everyone and wondering what their future holds in store. I have to admit I was shocked and saddened by the death of Marjorie Raymond last week. Again, bullying was singled out as she did the unthinkable, taking her own life by hanging herself… such an unnatural thing for a lovely and intelligent teenage girl to do.

But girls have become as aggressive, if not more, than boys in word and in action. Proof of this: the obscene comments in the form of graffiti left on women’s washroom doors and walls and the obscenities used in conversations, tweets and Facebook messages. Is it because they have no clue where, when and how to express love or how to be loving towards others? Are they simple little robots trying to shock their peers, their teachers and their parents by emulating singing stars who have made it a point to be arrogant, self-centered and obnoxious?

I saw the film The Descendants last Saturday… Good grief! It was an eye opener. It depicts the tragedy of life when dysfunction sets in, when career and meeting the social criteria for success leads to neglect and lies within the family unit. Yes, Matt King (George Clooney) is a successful man until his life falls apart after his wife’s boating accident. You hear him say, at the beginning of the movie: “Do people think that because we live in paradise our heartaches are less painful?” Matt realizes that he has been a neglectful husband and father and has no clue how to take over with his daughters who spill out obscenities and don’t know how to relate to their Dad. Alexandra, his seventeen year-old daughter, is in a private school, has a drinking problem and has had a serious falling-out with her mother when she discovered her infidelity. Scottie, the youngest one, has a “bad mouth” too and has obviously been left on her own too often while her mom pursued her own pleasure and her dad, his career. The tragedy becomes a learning curve where father and daughters reconnect and learn to care and to love again following the coma and premature death of the mother.

There is a saying, “God is in the details!”… I would add “Love is in the details.”… The small everyday gestures and things we do for our loved ones matter the most. The film left me with the feeling that, despite the fact that most of us have never been taught how to love and had to learn by experimenting and sometimes fairing poorly, there is hope.

Whenever there is growth and the person discovers their own self-worth and capacity to love, there is hope for a better society, happier couples and happier children. Then we won’t have to celebrate so many terrible anniversaries like the tragic deaths of Francine Mailly and her three children killed five years ago by the estranged husband and father who, incidentally, died in the explosion when he set fire to their Cumberland home in a final desperate act of violence.

“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)

And if you can no longer provide care and loving, if your heart is full of hate and jealousy, then exit bravely and nurse your broken heart. Rebuild your self-confidence and self-worth before violence threatens the lives of those you loved. Don’t let them become one more casualty. I believe we have more than one life to live on this earth and everyone should have a chance to experience them. It is sad to think that for Daron, Jamie, Marjorie, Francine and her children, it’s too late.

“Moi j’ai aimé très souvent, aimé longtemps et énormément, mais je les ai tous perdus. Comment aimer je ne l’ai jamais su.”

This song from Diane Tell expresses the fact that many people do not know how to love and their relationships eventually falter and dissolve because they have never travelled the road to real love which has to include freedom and trust, understanding and tolerance, hope, devotion and the sharing the joys as well as the sad moments. Maybe one day there will be “Love 101” classes all across our educational systems, this way we will be better equipped to live with love on a daily basis.

A simple wish at the start of this holiday season: “Life is precious; honour it with love!” Blessings to all!

P.S. A new website has been set up to make people aware of the dangers of domestic violence. Go to www.neighboursfriendsandfamilies.on.ca for a wealth of information and how you can help in critical situations.

If you would like to purchase a copy of « Le génie de Jessie », a book that deals with intimidation for readers 7 to 11, go to my website (www.albertevilleneuve.ca) to find out where it is available.

Please listen to Lorna Blumen as she sheds light on bullying:

http://tvoparents.tvo.org/video/168580/lorna-blumen-her-new-book-bullying-epidemic

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