Love

The Little Girl on the Opposite Side of the Street: A Love Story

One of my earliest childhood memories is of walking the six blocks to my elementary school and seeing for the first time the little girl with a long ponytail walking on the opposite side of the street just ahead of me. It was like seeing a living breathing object of beauty for the first time; like a rainbow or the bird of paradise flowers that stood in front of our picture window. That memory has clung to my mind like the last oak leaf of fall that refuses to be dislodged from its branch by wind or snow. And even as the darkest days of winter approach and all trees are bare-limbed, that one leaf remains. It is the memory of innocent first love, untainted by hormones or lust or selfish desire. As Valentine’s Day fades into anticipation of the spring equinox, I suppose many of us contemplated love. Despite the overly commercial aspects of that day the superficial can be overcome if we take a moment to reflect on the nature of love. In senior english class in high school I attempted to write my final paper on the nature of love. Needless to say, I failed. What does a seventeen year old know about love? The failure to write even a paragraph did not, however, cause the question to go away. It remained with me until years later while walking to class in graduate school the question reoccured. But this time, instead of attempting to answer the question, I simply left it to float out into the universe knowing that someday an answer would return, just as the question had returned. Surprisingly, I did not have to wait long. While walking to the same class on a late spring morning the answer floated into my mind just as the question had. LOVE IS A SON. I did not understand the answer at first. But like a flower bud that opens revealing deeper layers of complexity and beauty the answer blossomed into a transcendent understanding of love. Perhaps when first reading the answer that came to me you first thought of the birth of a child, a son. Or you may have thought of Jesus, as the Son of God; or the spiritual relationship between father and son. In a deeper sense it may have occurred to you that,’son’, was simply be a metaphor and had little to do with gender. As the answer unfolded, revealing itself as time went by, all of those thoughts were elements of the answer, but not the complete answer. It is clear, that the answer is transcendent, meaning the sum of all of the thoughts associated with the answer is far greater than the individual thoughts. Love is the ultimate emergence from which all things flow and all things return. Love is the foundation upon which the universe is built; from which all of the elements obtain their existence; from which all molecules form and chemistry begins. That chemistry is the loving attraction between molecules that form the basis for life from which all living things proceed. Love then manifests itself in all that we see and feel, from sunset to stars, to a mother hen and her brood, to the tempest and the calm it ultimately brings, to the music that soothes the savage breast, to the ache in a broken heart, to the joy of a grandchild, to the taste of salty air, to the longsuffering patience of quietly endured injustice, to the heart that forgives its enemies. The physicist who contemplates the origin of the universe and asks what was before the big bang would do well to consider that it was love that existed prior to all things and encompasses all things. It is no wonder that a little girl, seen for the first time should make a little boy feel as if he had made the greatest discovery in the universe. And he had. As the years marched on, the little girl on the opposite side of the street and I became fast friends. By the time we had graduated from high school we had known each for more than half of our short life times. Such an experience with friendship, cradled in the arms of innocence, leads to deeper questions about what it means to love. Sadly, after high school we lost touch and like the song writer penned our friendship became lost in the mystic memory of days gone by. But it is that memory that has taught me the most about what it means to love. And for that, to God be the glory forever and ever Amen Dr. D

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