Posted tagged ‘love’

Regrettable Words: Spoken and Unspoken

May 10, 2018

Regrettable Words: Some Spoken, Some Suppressed
by Dr. Steven J. Callis

Have you ever uttered a statement, only to immediately regret that it passed your lips?  My email provider includes a feature that allows 30 seconds to “undo” a sent message.  Oh, that we had such a feature in the human body, but we all have learned the difficult lesson that something spoken cannot be unsaid.

Myron Augsburger wrote, “Words spoken prematurely cause extended damage.  Harsh words wound; critical words destroy.  Once words are spoken they cannot be recalled and we cannot be free from the responsibility of having made the statement.”

An unfortunate illness among young children is Hoof and Mouth disease.  In later years, that malady becomes “hoof IN mouth” disease.  The idea of putting a foot in one’s mouth actually did originate in the 1870’s and the deadly virus among cattle that was called “Hoof-and-Mouth.”  A fancier term for the slip of the tongue is faux pas, a tactless statement made in a social situation.

In a less innocent scenario, one may be guilty of hurling a cruel insult or criticism towards another person.  Often the critic may feel some amount of remorse later, but the damage is already done.  No amount of regret, and no act of restitution, will enable the victim to unhear what was said –genuine repentance is a huge step in healing the relationship, nonetheless.

While the words cannot be unsaid, there is still the possibility of making it right with the other person.  On the other hand, there is no recourse for words that have been suppressed for too long.  Garth Brooks sings the question, “If tomorrow never comes, will she know how much I loved her?” How will they know if we do not demonstrate our love and verbalize it, as well?

The Bee Gees released a song as a single in 1968 titled, “Words.”  The lyrics include this line: “It’s only words, and words are all I have to take your heart away.”  The gist of the song is that words can make a person happy or make a person sad.  I would contend, however, that words unspoken can do neither.

You and I are responsible for the words we speak, and for the words we suppress.  Using the adage to look before you leap, let us add that one should think before speaking.  The apostle James wrote in a letter recorded in the Bible’s New Testament, “Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.”  We must speak words that bear meaning and purpose, because words flow from the abundance of our heart.  And if we are truly thinking about our words and their purpose, we will not suppress those expressions that our loved ones need to hear.

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Grandparent’s Day: Treating Loneliness

September 11, 2017

by Dr. Steven J.Callis

Comedian Bill Dana related a story as Jose Jimenez, deep sea diver.  He was on the ocean floor all alone, and coming at him from one direction was a huge shark, a large octopus from another direction, and a barracuda from yet another.  “And then, something terrible happened:  they went away, and I was all alone again.”

            We do not relish thinking about it, but the Beatles did not want us to forget, with their 1966 song, Eleanor Rigby:  Ah, look at all those lonely people.  Where do they come from, where do they belong?  Bobby Vinton sang about Mr. Lonely who has nobody to call his own.  America’s Dan Peek wrote a song “for all the lonely people.”  Songs abound on the topic of loneliness.

            Grandparents Day has been celebrated on the Sunday following Labor Day ever since 1978 when President Jimmy Carter declared that day a national holiday.  We jokingly suspect that a grandparent came up with the idea, but the actual founder of Grandparents Day was a West Virginia mother of 15 children.

            Marian McQuade had much more in mind than a mere celebration.  Her purpose was to raise awareness for elderly nursing home residents, fearing that they were missing out on important family bonding due to their need for intensive care.  Her campaign was grounded on the fact that we can learn much from our entire elderly community.

            In 2003, McQuade confessed that she never intended Grandparents Day to be about any one particular form of celebration.  In a word, she wanted to “alleviate some loneliness.”

            A couple of weeks ago I was invited to an appreciation dinner for volunteers who serve at an assisted living facility.  My heart was warmed to see approximately 30 individuals attending the dinner, because it helped me realize how many people invest themselves in the lives of those who can no longer live independently.

            Many grandparents are physically able to lift their grandchildren, play with them, bake with them, take them to the zoo or the lake, or attend their ball games and school plays and other special events.  It is a good thing to honor grandparents on a specific day – their day.

            We would do well to remember, however, those grand persons who are no longer physically or emotionally able to fill their role as they might desire.  They still know how to love, and how it feels to be loved.  They still need to know that somebody cares.

            Maybe one day this week you could take time to visit a nursing home or another type of care facility and brighten someone’s day by relieving their loneliness for a few minutes.  You may even decide to “adopt” one person and gift them with a weekly visit.  Happy Grandparents Day everyone, and let’s continue the campaign that Marian McQuade began 40 years ago to honor our elders.        

With This Ring

July 25, 2014

by Steven J Callis

It was long thought that there is a vein in the human body running from the ring finger of the left hand to the heart. The advancement of science eventually proved that to be a false notion, but the sentiment is beautiful as to the reason for wearing the wedding band on the fourth finger of the left hand.

Another explanation of the tradition is that long ago in a religious wedding ceremony, the priest would bless the marriage by touching the ring to the thumb and saying, “In the name of the Father.” He would then touch the ring to the forefinger and say, “and of the Son,” followed by touching the ring to the middle finger and saying, “and of the Holy Ghost.” Finally, the ring would be placed on the fourth finger as the priest declared, “Amen.”

Yet another explanation is that the fourth finger is the most protected of all the fingers, and the majority of people tend to use their right hand more than the left hand. Hence, the fourth finger on the left hand would be the most protected of all. This idea is not nearly as romantic or symbolic as the others, but many people believe it to be the most plausible theory.

If choosing to accept the latter of these derivations, we could actually find a bit of symbolism in it, too. Marriage is a bond and foundation of a home and family. The home being one’s refuge from the wiles and crises and stresses of the everyday world, marriage should, indeed, be protected. While there are many external causes for failing marriages and divorce, the problems nearly always begin within the marriage itself.

After you have overdone it at the local food buffet, the last thing on your mind is stopping at DQ for a Blizzard or sundae; food is not appetizing when your tummy is completely satisfied. Similarly, when a relationship is solid, satisfying, and need-meeting, the external distractions and temptations lose their appeal and power. For this reason, husbands and wives must guard their treasure called marriage.

As the relationship matures, changes are inevitable. We change as individuals, we change as events and circumstances impact our lives, we change as our physical health diminishes, and as we face the challenges of parenthood, career, faith, aging, and the empty nest. Refusing to acknowledge and deal with those changes can derail a relationship. The marriage must allow room for the relationship to grow as it matures.

So take a moment and consider that band on your left hand ring finger. Let it remind you of the necessity to deliberately protect what you have vowed to keep forever. Your marriage can be the very foundation of your home as a refuge.

No Unfinished Business

February 17, 2014

by Steven J. Callis

I read that the longest love letter ever written – and the simplest – was in 1875 from a painter named Marcel de Leclure to Magdalene de Villaore.  The letter contained the phrase “jevous aime” 1,875,000 times, or 1000 times the calendar years of the date.

Even more astounding is that he did not write the letter himself, but hired a scribe to do the work.  Let’s not be too quick to judge; he verbally dictated every word to the scribe as the letter was written, and then had the scribe read it back to him verbatim. The phrase, which means “I love you,” was written and spoken collectively 5,625,000 times before it ever reached its intended recipient.

For many people, Valentine’s Day demands creativity; seeking new and unique methods of saying, “I love you.”  While there are differing versions of the true origins of the holiday, I feel certain that it did not begin with the goal of retailers expecting to rack up about $650 million dollars selling food, candy, flowers, and other Valentine’s Day related goods.

On the positive side, this holiday reminds us that expressions of love and affection – both romantic love and friendship – are important in the sustenance of relationships.  The danger, however, is to relegate such expressions only to special occasions, which otherwise become lost in the daily routines of life.

Country music legend Garth Brooks may have been aware of that danger when he thought about his own relationships.  He pondered such questions as these:  “If tomorrow never comes will she know how much I loved her?  Did I try in every way to show her every day that she’s my only one?”

In other words, he did not want to risk going to sleep with unfinished or unresolved “business” in his life.  He could not bear to think of withholding words and expressions of affection from those who mean so much to him until it is too late to share them.  Every positive expression of love breathes life into the relationship and sustains it.

Now that the holiday has passed, let’s be more determined and deliberate to make every day Valentine’s Day. “So tell that someone that you love just what you’re thinking of…” (Brooks).

Let Me Count the Ways

February 9, 2012

by Dr. Steven J. Callis

I read recently that more than one half of cards sold for Valentines Day are purchased within 48 hours of February 14, and that approximately one billion greeting cards are exchanged on this special holiday.  According to the Nielson ratings, Americans purchase 58 million pounds of Valentine chocolate at a cost of $345 million, including 35 million heart-shaped boxes of those sweet treats!  In addition to these gestures of love, florists boast the sale of 189 million stems of red roses during the Valentine holiday, and jewelry sales for this occasion rank second only to Christmas among all the holidays and seasons of the year.

Some “bloggers” claim that a man’s greatest fear is buying a Valentines gift that upsets or disappoints that special lady in his life.  I comically picture a big, strong, handsome guy anxiously pacing back and forth in the gift shop trying to decide how to avoid the wrath of an insensitive Valentine’s present.  This poor man has been convinced that Valentine’s Day is not about the love, but about the gift.

In our busy to and fro world, there are “built-in” days throughout the year that remind us of the importance to demonstrate our love and appreciation for special persons in our lives.  While I do make a daily effort to demonstrate and verbalize my love for my wife, I am thankful for a day like Valentines that provides the opportunity for me to say, “I love you,” in a special way.  Let’s remember on this Valentine’s Day that it really is about the love, more than it is about the gift.  One writer described it like this:

Love is patient and kind.  Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude.  Love does not demand its own way.  Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record when it has been wronged.  It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.  Love will last forever. (The Apostle Paul, 1 Corinthians 13, NLT)

 

One cannot place a price on that, but putting that kind of love into action surpasses any amount of chocolates, jewelry, and cleverly-worded greeting cards.  Love is not primarily a feeling; it is a decision that lasts forever.