Friday, July 20, 2012

Love is Caring

Words of wisdom come to us from many sources, sometimes helpful, bringing about needed behavioral changes, and sometimes, though making a great deal of sense, have little influence on our lives. A columnist in the Catholic Times recounts a snippet of wisdom he remembers hearing from a  friend who said it influenced him throughout his life.

The friend, a priest, would go as a child, during winter vacations, to the home of his grandparents down country. He tried to find a way of relating with the children his age, but being from the city he was not accepted by the country children; so it was Blacky, the family pet, that he spent most of his time with, walking in the fields and climbing mountains.

One evening his grandmother roasted some sweet potatoes, and brought him some. He began eating the potatoes and remembered Blacky out in the dog house. Taking one of the hot simmering potatoes, he broke it in half and gave the dog the other half. Blacky swallowed the potato and let out a scream. His grandfather and mother rushed out to the dog house to see what the ghastly scream was about. It was then they realized that the boy had given the dog a hot potato. The dog after the episode stayed in the dog house  for a couple of days.

His grandmother gave him a lesson on what dogs do not like, and spent some time getting the message across. It was a lesson the priest has never forgotten. Not everybody likes what we like and the columnist concludes the column with a very simple and obvious moral. Love means many things, but the meaning he likes is 'caring.'

Working in a different culture the reality of this is often seen in what is eaten and  what is avoided  Recently, Koreans have made some changes in what they care about when it comes to eating preferences, coming to appreciate wheat products, cheese and milk, a change which has come about gradually. There are, however, areas of life in which likes and dislikes go much deeper and are probably more similar to the experience of the priest with "hot food and dogs."

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