Real Lesson On Love

Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all. – Michael Masser & Linda Creed (Songwriters)  

This is a common saying among our culture. And it’s true that self love is something we as a society/culture struggle to learn. However, I believe the most significant love lessons are those directed towards others.

You see when we love someone, be it a lover, a friend, or a relative, there is an inward pleasure that comes from giving and sharing the love that is inside of us. Humans are made to give, receive and share love. It’s a natural interconnecting and cyclical exchange which gives us purpose beyond ourselves. Love, being an action word, causes movement and pushes us past mere self interest. It involves sacrifice. Love says, “I will give my child the one piece of bread in the house and I will go hungry.” Or, “I will buy my lover an outfit, or his favorite cologne with my spending money instead of buying something for myself.”

You know the funny thing about love? Is that the so called sacrifice actually becomes pleasurable. There is no real suffering when your mind and heart are motivated to give. The satisfaction on the inside from giving to the object of your affection is reward enough. It’s easy!

Love will make you do right. Love will make you do wrong. Make you come home early. Make you stay out all night long. – Al Green

But what happens when the one you love doesn’t love you? What happens when the child you loved, raised and provided for rejects you? What happens when the friend you love betrays you? What happens when your lover cheats and breaks their promises. What happens to your love then?

Love is an investment of the heart. It requires intimacy and vulnerability. Vulnerability carries with it the potential of great pain. Pain causes grief. Anger is one of the 5 stages of grief. (along with denial, bargaining, and depression…) Acceptance is the last of the 5 stages.

If she is amazing, she won’t be easy.  If she is easy, she won’t be amazing. If she is worth it you won’t give up. If you give up you’re not worthy… Truth is, everybody is going to hurt you; you just gotta find the ones worth suffering for.” – Bob Marley

When someone you love causes you to experience the 5 stages, this is the ultimate test of whether love is real. It’s easy to love when love is requited. But when it’s not, when the one you love isn’t going to return that love, or for that matter do the opposite of what you desire he/she does, and you achieve acceptance granting them their wish, then you will know that your love is truly love.

And this is the secret of love as well as some of the most important lessons we will learn in life. True enlightenment can’t be learned in a book. Ideas may start in theory but they aren’t anything but philosophies and mental treaties until you walk the walk. In this case, when your loved one puts you through hell and back, is performing at their worst, or is in a position to offer you nothing and yet you continue to love, then the true lessons of love have been achieved.

I always knew this in ‘theory.’ As a matter of fact, I have prided myself on loving the important people in my life when they are at their worst. After all, that’s when love is needed the most. I’ve proclaimed it and desired that same kind of love for myself. We all need that kind of love. I’m glad to say that I have both given and experienced this love beyond theory. Neither side of it was pretty or easy. But they were both real. To me, this is the greatest love of all.

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. –John 15:13



A Great Day In America

 Well Familia,

What is there to say?   It still hasn’t quite sunk in for me yet.  My mind knows well and good that our next president will be Barack Obama.  Logically I understand what went down last night.  At the same time it still seems surreal.  So much so that I didn’t have quite the emotional reaction I thought I would.  It was there at the tip of my spirit, but it couldn’t break through because it’s so amazing. 

I didn’t think I would have a lot to say today.  So much is being said already.  But I will document some thoughts just so I can remember how I felt today and what crossed my mind last night.  In no particular order:

What a convincing victory huh?  It started to get real when he won Pennsylvania.  PENNSYLVANIA!  And that came pretty quickly.  But then you add in Ohio, Michigan, Iowa,Wisconsin and Florida!  FLORIDA?  Missouri and Indiana are close and even if they go for McCain at the end of the day, considering the last few elections and the divide caused by ultra conservatives who touted the three G’s (God, Guns, & Gays) they were unsuccessful in high jacking this election.  Just on a side note; In spite of what the NRA said, President Obama is not going to take your guns from you.

Keys to Victory~

First and foremost to Barack Obama and his campaign staff who fought two vigorous campaigns with a first class dignity not seen before.  When Hillary Clinton was predicting assassination attempts and her supporters vowed to not support him, he remained steady, respectful and smooth.  They never wavered but held steady throughout the fire and brimstone.  There were times many of us including myself wanted to see him be more aggressive.  But that’s why he is president now and not me.  Obama surrounded himself with great people, and was able to keep those people unified and focused on the goal.  That says a lot about what his presidency should be like.  This allowed the fund-raising to be that much easier – and he was able to bankroll the message that he wanted to get to the American public with ease.

DNC Chairman Howard Dean for his belief that the Democrats should attempt to campaign significantly in every state instead of focusing on those where liberal interest were favorable. 

The forerunners – Shirley Chisholm, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.  Regardless of what you think about them – (I happen to have great respect) none of this would be possible without their blood sweat and tears.  If Barack were the first face of color America would have seen for the highest office – this doesn’t happen.  I am convinced of that.

Black radio – especially the likes of Tom Joyner, Steve Harvey and Michael Baisden.  Baisden was the most vocal day in and day out in bring the issues to bear and keeping young and old potential voters up to speed.  Joyner was responsible for singer Joe getting registered.  They continuously informed of the facts and we responded. 

YOU the voters who got politically involved and searched the issues as opposed to falling for the okee-doke of scare tactics and Joe The Plumber nonsense.  Many of my white brothers and sisters saw past their trepidations and fears of being led by a black man.  You saw his ideas as favorable to our nation while not ignoring his color.  I imagine for some of you a reverse of the Bradley affect took place.  While you felt you had to tell some friends or family you were voting for McCain, you got in the booth and did what you thought was right at the end of the day.   Much love to whites in the heartland who normally think color first (after all what else were you taught but to trust what looks like you?) and for Hillary’s supporters specifically who buried the hatchet to think “country first.”

Speaking of country first, let me give a shout out to Senator McCain who gave a very gracious speech recognizing the times and taming the boos that marred his campaign previously.  He really did go “country first” and though he didn’t campaign at all to people of color – from his speech last night it makes me think he is more afraid of us than he was merely ignoring us.  I am sure he got some very bad advice too.  He really took this thing for granted similar to Senator Clinton and felt that because he was white he was going to win regardless.  Unfortunate.  Still if he goes back to Maverick-ism, I think he can help work with our new president on some great ideas going forward.

This is not merely a victory for Black America.  It’s a victory for all of America.  This man will be a strong president.  He has a strong woman by his side who will lovingly support her husband while still offering a wisdom that dates back ages from the foundations of strong families.  Michelle Obama will do this nation well and represent us in a way that has never been done before.  Barack and Michelle Obama together are like having two great entities for the price of one to both represent and lead our nation.

Later as it gets closer to the inauguration I will share what I feel we should expect from President Obama.  In what ways we should hold him accountable and how he should hold us accountable.  Its a two way street.  More than ever we have to learn to pull together as a nation and be a part of the solution for all that makes us the nation we think we are.  Again that’s for later. 

For President Obama, there is a lot to do in terms of getting up to speed and transitioning to the White House.  But for today, heck for the rest of the week, and maybe the rest of the month – I just want to celebrate, reflect, and be thankful that I as well as my children are alive to see this day.  Thankful that many of the civil rights leaders of all races got to see this day.  Glad to share this moment with you… fellow Americans.