“It was the day my father died…in the small hospital room. I was supporting him in my arms, when…my father slumped back…I lowered his head gently onto the pillow. I…told my mother…: “It’s all over, Mom. Dad is dead.’…My mother said:’Oh, he was so proud of you. He loved you so much.’…these words…were like a sudden shaft of light, like a startling thought I had never before absorbed. Yet there was a definite edge of pain, as though I were going to know my father better in death than I had ever known him in life.” Later, while a doctor was verifying death, I was leaning against the wall in the far corner of the room, crying softly. A nurse came over to me and put a comforting arm around me. I couldn’t talk through my tears. I wanted to tell her: “’I’m not crying because my father is dead. I’m crying because my father never told me that he was proud of me…never told me that he loved me. Of course, I was expected to know these things…but he never told me.’” John Powell, as told inThe Secret of Staying in Love, p. 68
There are so many unknowns in the calculus of love…the factors of When, How, and Who are all part of the equation.
Until love is expressed, whether in word or through action, its influence is unfelt and emotionally inert. Only When love is communicated do we release its positive energy.
Through the expression of love two people benefit immediately: the speaker or doer as well as the recipient of the word or deed. In the sadness expressed by John Powell in the story above, we see how devastating it is when we treat love as an assumption rather than an expression.
How we express our love, appreciation, pride or any other positive emotion intended to uplift, matters not as much as the expression itself. Surely there are myriad facets for the Hows in this Calculus of Love. Each sparkles and shimmers with the positivity of emotion. What tarnishes the expression of love, and turns the calculus negative, are insincerity, indifference, and domineering pride.
The Who is defined by the circle of our family and the circumference of deep friendship. Each within that radius will benefit from the expression of our love. And, if the expression can be preserved in writing, audio or video files that can be treasured electronically, so much the better. For then those expressions will live on to prove that we heeded the admonition of Harriet Beecher Stowe that “the bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone.”
The day will come when, after harnessing [space], the winds, the tides, gravitation, we shall harness for God the energies of love. And, on that day, for the second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire--Pierre Teilhard de Chardin