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“Love You Forever”

By September 26, 2019 12 Comments

I cried this morning. I cried at the sight of a young man, early teens, holding his mother’s hand as they walked to school. I only saw their backs. They radiated love. The two of them, a school bag, and love. They brought to mind Robert Munsch’s children’s book Love You Forever. It is not a children’s book, just disguised as one. It is a book on life; a book that belongs with all the great works of sages, prophets, and philosophers. [Spoiler alert]: the last scene in the book is the son —not young anymore but a man with his baby in his arms— singing: 

“I’ll love you forever,

I’ll like you for always,

As long as I’m living

My baby you’ll be.”

As I was lost in my wide open heart, my very real and present body was lecturing my daughter on discipline, commitment, work, and… and…, inputting all the required programming into her not-yet-tainted-but-so-close-to-being-corrupted system. Her programming has been slowly ongoing for 13+ years.

Most of the programming has been unconscious on my part. The conscious bit came with the handbook on parenting society/culture/religion/lineage/state/colonialism handed over as soon as I became one. It is very heavy, and impossible to implement. It is not sustainable. My older daughters remind me of this everyday.

I believe there are certain joys that come with growing older. Sure, our knees hurt, the tire around our belly grows unsupported, and wrinkles settle themselves in the most obvious places, but deep down, we grow. And this growth is pain-free, weight-free, and wrinkle-free. This growth demands connection and peace, and so we yearn for moments of deep introspection and prayer —regardless of how they look like. My prayer lately has been simple: I ask for enough, and I ask to see and hear. Everything around me, including the books that are falling into my lap, confirms that our thriving requires fresh eyes/ears/senses, breadth beyond the patterns, and new experiences. [Spoiler alert]: prayers are answered. For a while, I have stopped seeing vibrant colour. My very present, Arab, practical mind tells me it will all come back to life after a good rain gift. My fragile heart tells me our world is pale from dis-ease, and it is asking for help from its deathbed. 

A tiny visitor arrived at my gate the other day right around the time the sun was rising from its slumber in its beautiful orange robes to bring some colour into my greying world. He was so small I barely saw him. A tiny little kitten —days old I assumed— asking loudly to enter. My dog was unleashed, and I assumed —thanks to her and my programming— ready to kill. Her breakfast was right there yelling at her. Before I had time to react, this little lion jumped through the crack in the gate and right into my dog’s lap, stunning the three of us silent. No one was eaten. Everyone came out alive, and dare I say a better being. 

This tiny kitten lion just burst through the universe to tell me —tell us— all is not hopeless. Our hearts are throbbing red, a vibrant, glorious red whose medicine is potent enough to soothe our fragile, pale world.

The kitten was too young for programming. He had no fear, and a strong desire to live —to thrive. My dog, contrary to pattern, programming, and expectation displayed curiosity, joy, and a lightness of being I still feel in her days after the encounter. 

And me?

I remember clearly our family gathered around our round dining table in our modest apartment in Jebel Weibdeh over 40 years ago with extended family. The “dining room” also happened to be my brother’s “bedroom” when the sun disrobed its orange gown. I only tell you this because I want you to know that our modest house was one vibrant, throbbing, colourful abode of unconditional love —as I lived it. [My siblings may disagree.] A relative who has long passed now complained to my father that he was spoiling me, and that his actions were sure to backfire as I got older. I will never forget her words. My father smiled, nodded, and moved on. 

I was told off recently for spoiling my dog. I think she overheard the conversation —as I did. [I wonder if she will be writing about this 40 years later?]

Here’s the thing. When you fill a container with love, you leave no room for anything else. Sure, we may occasionally play pretend [check out my previous blog], but all in all, most of what you get is love. I have not eaten anyone to date. Neither has my dog. We have never bitten, scratched, pushed, or consciously hurt anyone. I would say that’s a win.

As for the conditioning, I am so grateful little Gutsy [obviously, what else would I call him?] showed up when I needed to see. His mother sits at my gate every morning wondering where he is. I explained to her he is in hospital for a few days. I also communicated to her that she needed to let him be. He has shown us both he is wiser than most living beings on the planet. His hard-drive is pure, untainted, and guided. He knew his survival was in the “lion’s den.” He also knew the lion was a big container of unconditional love.

The scene that melts my heart in Munsch’s book is the one where the “young” man holds his aging mother in his lap as he gently rocks her and sings to her:

“I’ll love you forever,

I’ll like you for always,

As long as I’m living

My baby you’ll be.”

My new eyes saw this as the boy walked with his mother this morning. I hope his system stays uncorrupted. I pray our society, our leaders, and the sickness we have created do not pollute his red heart. I like to believe his mother will continue to fill him with unconditional love. 

If unconditional love is spoiling your kids, your pets, the earth you live on, the students you teach, the country you rule, then please for the love of God SPOIL SPOIL SPOIL. 

 

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