Sunday February 17, 2013
Love actually is all around us
By SOO EWE JIN
LET'S talk about love. Love is not a one-day commercialised event that deludes you into spending a tidy sum to prove your love for another person.
The reason a bunch of roses is more expensive on Feb 14 is pure economics. As long as there is a willing buyer, there will be a willing seller. And we all know that famous saying by P.T. Barnum, “There's a sucker born every minute”.
Actually, I love flowers. A bouquet of flowers given or received at the right time, for the right reason, is actually one of the joys of life.
And I follow the principle set by a dear friend who said: “Please send me flowers while I can still smell them, not when my body is in a coffin. For that, it's better to give the money to a worthy cause.”
You see, when we fall into the trap of expressing love only on a particular day, like the way hampers are delivered to people on festive occasions, it is no longer special.
It just gets lost in the maze of things and the only people who benefit are the suppliers.
So, let's talk about real love.
Every morning, my neighbour in an adjacent street takes her mother out for a walk. Her mother is in a wheelchair and she has to be particularly careful when she reaches my street as it is a main road. Her cheerful disposition is always welcome balm for a tired soul.
In the hospitals, especially the public ones, you see real people resting in the corridors, exhausted after taking care of their loved ones. Some travel great distances just to get medical attention.
At the oncology wards, nursing homes and stroke rehabilitation centres, the interaction is not just between relatives and friends, but also with those with a calling to give their time and talent to help people in need.
Anyone who has ever interacted with Hospis staff will appreciate that doing good work is simply not possible without a big heart. Tender loving care is one thing but dealing with the basic functions of the human body that the patient is no longer able to handle by himself is quite another.
Love, generously shared, makes us want to exclaim: “I am loved. I am rich. I am comforted. I am privileged. My cup runneth over.”
There is also another aspect of love that we seldom want to grapple with, and that is about love as an action word.
Love is not always the lovey-dovey emotional roller-coaster that we see in movies or expressed through days like Feb 14.
Love is action. It calls us to deliberately reach out to others people who are different, people who can't speak out for themselves, total strangers, and even our worst enemies.
We don't need a special day to show love. If you want to experience love, just look at the ordinary people doing extraordinary things every day. They are the people who walk that extra mile, share your burdens and sow love in the midst of hatred. These are the bridge-builders of our country. And you can be one of them.
> Deputy executive editor Soo Ewe Jin (firstname.lastname@example.org) believes that all married men who love their spouses must do their share of housework, but it helps if their wives do not try and redo everything, like re-arranging the clothes put up to dry.