Growing up, there were three words or phrases rarely (if ever) spoken in our house. The first one was please . I cannot remember a single time when this word was used except in the same sense as give me a break . Logically, if there is no please there will be no thank you . When presents were exchanged there would be a few thank you , but very few. The third missing word was love . I cannot remember a time, other than when they were old and sick, where the words I love you were ever uttered.
My dad was from a generation where it was considered a sign of weakness to talk about love. Thus, I never remember my dad telling me he loved me. He wanted to, but he just couldn't do it. My mom rarely ever talked about love, but she did tell me a few times (especially near the end of her life) I love you . Never did those three simple words mean as much to a son as when my mom freely told me she loved me.
Please and thank you fall in the category of manners and etiquette, but love represents something far bigger and personal. When we are fail to carry out proper manners, it is usually due to lack of instruction. When we are unable to manifest love, it is due to a giant problem that should be addressed lest it grow into a stumbling block.
I think of the scene from Fiddler on the Roof when the older couple was discussing love . They kept asking each other do you love me? I don't remember if they ever arrived at an answer to that question. In reality, the question was one of whether washing clothes and providing food constitute love or not.
Like many couples who have been married a long time, my parents spent the final 20 years of their marriage sleeping in separate rooms. This was a practical arrangement due to my dad grinding his teeth and my mom spending each night reading. Does it mean they did not love each other? In their own way, they truly did, but they never spoke of their love.
Love has befuddled the great and small through history. I pray it does not befuddle us, or become something so difficult, it is never experienced. Thank you for letting me rant about all this today.