April 18, 2016, Prescott-
My youngest niece turns twenty-five today. This, alone, makes it a good day, and I hope her nearest and dearest ones honour her in the best manner possible. Twenty-five is not the marker of a “crisis” (as in “quarter-life crisis”), but is the affirmation of a good running start to full adulthood.
I think of all those I love, in various senses of the word. It has sometimes been a matter of bloodline; other times, it is from sheer association and observation, as with my students and counselees, many of my colleagues and most of my fellows-in-faith. Then, there is Love 101, the seeing of “a stranger as a loving friend”, as ‘Abdu’l-Baha admonished us to see others.
By age 30, having long since let go of adolescent irritability, I had given up the concept of enmity, at least insofar as it pertained to a flesh-and-blood human being. Some behaviours, I will always find inimical, but that is a topic for other venues. People’s hearts can always change, and while we can, and should, be wary of those who have harmed us, or our loved ones, in the past, it is not ours to deny them the right to a change of heart.
At 65, I can hold no grudge, yet, nonetheless, expect those who have hurt others, to make serious amends. With no apologies to Erich Segal, love DOES mean having to say you’re sorry. Following that apology, though, love does exact some changes in behaviour, both great and small. Yes, I hold myself to that same standard, whether forgiven by those I may have hurt, or not.
Love, one step at a time, is the secret to growth.