Thursday, November 28, 2013

Love Felt in Silence

A priest writing in the Bible & Life magazine recounts an incident that happened when he was in middle school. It was a Sunday afternoon and he had made plans to see a movie with a friend. He waited for over half an hour and when the friend did not show up, he made a call to the boy's home from a public telephone. A man answered the phone who he thought was his friend's father but it was his own father. He was so taken up with the prospects of seeing the movie and being disappointed when his friend failed to meet him that he had called his own home number. The father didn't recognize his son's voice nor did the son recognize his father's voice. When the father heard the name of his son's friend, he said that it was the wrong number for no one by that named lived there.

They say that those who have a loving relationship can tell by looking into the eyes of the other and know what is in their heart. And here we have a son talking to his father and failing to recognize each others voice.  Does that mean there wasn't love between them? the priest asks. He tells us that even despite what happened he never doubted his father's love. To make judgements about the existence or the absence of love in such cases is wrong, he says.  

Because they were not able to recognize the others voice, does that mean it wasn't  a close relationship? No, that is not the case, the priest insists. There was no doubt about the love they had for each other.  Why?  Simply because in that situation there was no indication by what had happened that there was a lack of love.

On radio recently, he said there was a public service announcement, "Don't say 'I want to see you.' Refrain from sending text messages with 'I love you.'  Don't press 'good' as a  comment. There is no need for such comments." The point that is being made is that there is no need to convey those messages without the person being present. Whenever you are driving a car simply keep your full attention on driving and not on sending text messages. This is the way to express that love.  Love should be sensed without feeling the need to do something because of circumstances.

He reminds us of the story of Mary and Martha from the Scriptures.  Martha showed  her love for Jesus by  working in the kitchen. She wanted Mary to show that same kind of love. There is no question that Martha was showing love for Jesus but in those circumstances Mary, by doing nothing, was also showing love by only listening to Jesus and she, as Jesus pointed out, had selected the better way. 

We often say that when we do nothing for the person we love, that is not love.  So we expect those who love us to show that love by what they do for us.  But love can be shown without any action or words. I can also love another in a particular circumstance by merely thinking in silence, by closing my eyes. Doing nothing for love can be a powerful silent doing within our hearts. Circumstances will determine how it will be expressed. 

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