Author: Joe Gatuslao - Philippines
A man going abroad to work leaves his fiancee crying.
"Don't worry, I will write you everyday," he said.
For years he did write her. But since he was happy with his job, he had no
immediate plans of going home.
One day, he received a wedding invitation. His girl friend was scheduled
to be married. To whom? To the mailman bringing regularly the letters of
her boy friend! Indeed, distance does make hearts flounder.
The poor boyfriend surely explained, "What went wrong? I sent her letters,
chocolates, and flowers."
When relationships go wrong, the list of things given and done for the person
usually crops up. We say, "I have given you this and that... I have done these
things for you." It seems that love is simply proven by the bestowal
of gifts and favors.
But while presents are important, love demands what is basic:
presence of the beloved. I have observed for instance, the orchids
of my mother. When she's away for a long time, they are unhealthy and
many of them wither. But when she is around, they bloom with beautiful
flowers. My mother does nothing exceptional. She just spends much time
talking and caressing them.
I guess persons all the more require a caring presence. Love
is fundamentally a commitment to a person. We may be committed to our
business, job, hobby, sports and clubs, but strictly speaking, they
cannot love us back. Only a person can love us in return, and for that
matter the highest commitment as human beings is spending time with
those persons we love. And since people need affection and nourishment,
material things can only help up to a certain degree in fostering love.
But it can never replace the greatest gift of presence.
Martha was busy with her job. She believed she had to work
harder because she loves her father who is sick of cancer. She has to
provide for his expensive medicines. Her brothers and sisters meanwhile
stayed with their father most of the time. They bathed him, sang for him,
spoon-fed him or simply kept him company.
One day Martha was hurt. She overheard her father telling
her mother, "All our children love me except Martha."
"How can this be?" Martha thought. "Am I not the one killing myself in my work
to have money to buy for his medicines? My brothers and sisters do not even
provide their share in the expenses as much as I do."
One night, as Martha was as usual late in going home, she
peeped for the first time in the room where her father was lying. She
noticed that her father was still awake. She decided to come close at
Her father held her hands and said, "I miss you. I don't
have much time. Stay with me." And she stayed with her father holding
his hand the whole night.
The next morning Martha said to everybody, "I have taken a
leave of absence. I would like to be with father. I will bathe him and
sing for him from now on."
Her father had a beautiful smile. He knew this time Martha loves him.
As children, we need the assuring presence of our loved ones.
Adult people need no less.
*** [Dec 6, 2001] by Kelly
And then they all ran out of money and medication....