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January 2, 2013

“Mocha Latte with Leaf Design”, Diesel Cafe, Cambridge, MA, Photo by Juan de Dios Santander Vela, Source (CC BY-SA 2.0 Generic)

We “love” a long list of things from Chinese food, the latest high tech devices, diamond studs, and chocolate cheesecake to classic rock, designer handbags, and soy latte.

There is nothing wrong with these things or our enjoyment of them.  They are, however, things.  Too often, we purchase them in the futile effort to fill an empty place inside – a place that has nothing to do with actual need.

Real Love

We “love” readily, yet have little concept of real love.  Our portrayals of love are a clear indication.

The vast majority of images we see of love on film or in print are of attractive, upscale couples in their twenties or early thirties.  Attractive and well-dressed children are added to the picture when we are being sold life insurance, family vacations, or disposable diapers.

With baby boomers retiring, a few older couples have lately appeared on the screen, to market dating services and erectile dysfunction cures to us.

Happily Ever After

We are experts at romance, but not at happily ever after.  Happily ever after is the hard part, something for which the fairy tales do not prepare us.

Actually loving someone for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health.  Through bankruptcy and bad decisions, beer gut and crow’s feet, mastectomy and stroke.  Remaining true to a single individual, despite a barrage of messages to “trade up”.

The Care of Strangers

And what of those who have no husband or wife, no daughter or son?  Who will love the homeless?  The orphaned?  Who will love the aged, relegated to the care of strangers?  Who will love the victims of war or catastrophe?  The veterans who have given their all to protect the rest of us?

We should be able to muster for them at least the degree of love we have for, say, latte or golf.  In the process, we may find that empty place inside has been filled.

“ ‘A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another’ ” (John 13: 34).

READERS CAN FIND MY VIEWS ON ABUSE AND ABUSE-RELATED ISSUES AT ANNA WALDHERR A Voice Reclaimed, Surviving Child Abuse http://www.avoicereclaimed

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