Valentines Day brings stories of pickle juice, grilled cheese sandwiches, and bowling centers to my mind. What about any of this has to do with looking love, however, will take a moment to explain.
For the last 50 years, my father has bowled in a league which was formed the year he joined. When you consider all that has happened with the world in that time, it becomes more impressive.
Most all of my Saturday nights, for the entirety of my life, have come with the consideration of what was happening in relation to bowling. We have seen owners come and go, lanes replaced and replaced again, and love. A lot of love.
I have loved a lot of people, from different parts of the world and life, because I either hung out, or bowled, on Saturday.
What of this looking love?
My sister came after me into the world. Other than her habit of biting me as a toddler, there has been nothing but good times and I have no complaints.
We rode through the parking lot of her religious school blaring Ozzy, thinking we made a difference. I condemned her cigarette smoking, and began to smoke cigarettes, just after she quit. Then she had a go at condemnation.
Shared stories of love and love lost. Griping and complaining about this or that, when only those seemed to help.
Thick and thin, peas and carrots, and all of that jazz. All of that jazz played through a pink cassette player we believed was a boom box.
One of the craziest things about my sister, is her love of pickle juice. More specifically, the juice that comes from pickles, squeezed over a grilled cheese sandwich.
Dena and the Juice
My life has been graced with travel. There has never been a better grilled cheese sandwich, than those served at Fountain Lanes.
Particularly during the Dena years.
Whenever my sister and I happened to be there, we would give Dena that nod of knowing. After she nodded back, like some 1970s gangster movie actor, she turned on the grill.
She always offered to bring it to our table, but it was rare that we waited to get the grilled cheese hot. After another knowing nod, a little cup of pickles was placed on the tray for my sister.
We knew each other. We liked each other. And those were some of the best days of my life, just like these days.
Look at Them Looking Love
It was the first time I heard the phrase, “looking love on someone”. My sister said it as she motioned my gaze back to the counter where we picked up lunch.
Dena’s husband was there, with his chin in his hand, looking at his wife. She was busy doing something that grill cooks do, but he just smiled and watched.
He really was. It was one of the more memorable things to happen at the bowing alley over the course of 50 years including robbers, guns, and perfect games.
Just a man looking love on his wife in a way that made others notice. Without him knowing he made an impact on my life.
Simple acts of love, done in simple ways, without concern for the results.
Hate, Greed, and Assholes
If you got tricked into reading that last word there, sorry about that. There is no need to sugar coat it.
Parts of the world are not friendly places and there is little time afforded there to look love on anything. There are a lot of things that are wrong with the world.
What should we do about all of that?
That is a question better left to those who are successful in combatting such things.
In the face of what seems to be anti-love, I try to respond with love. Love is the main goal and focus.
Sometimes that love looks like sacrifice or service, and at other times it resembles selfishness. Because I love people, I love me also. I am people, too.
As are you.
None of what I am learning about love would be possible without those who paved the way. From those that changed the world with love, to those that changed one life with love.
Everyone in my life, even those mentioned above, are an expression of love or a reaction to love. There is only love.
There may be fear, but fear is just a reaction to love, also.
What would I know of love? Well, I am excited to say, that my wife Michelle and I are celebrating our 45th minute without disagreeing.
This time it came down to the merits of John Denver’s contribution to the world through song.
I forgive her lack of admiration for John Denver, because you have to let people come to the truth in their own time, even if they are living a lie in the present moment.
The last sentence was a joke. My wife and I love each other despite our differences, and when we disagree, we come back together, even if we were angry.
Please do not interpret the joke as being about marriage.
“I forgive her lack of admiration for John Denver, because you have to let people come to the truth in their own time, even if they are living a lie in the present moment.“
Replace John Denver for anything you feel passionately about and understand the punchline, and the tragedy, are the same.
Beware of those who patiently “wait” for you to discover truth. It makes them feel spiritually mature, but it also dismisses your belief.
Be compassionate because you are compassionate. Not because you think someone deserves compassion. Love them in the same way.
And if you find time, spend time looking love on someone or something. Near or distant, familiar or foreign, comfortable or uneasy… look love on them.
This might just be how we bring peace to those needing it the most.
Stay awesome there (until you get here).