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Filtering by Tag: love

Forms of Love

William Coleman

27 love The British newspaper The Guardian recently invited a handful of writers to discuss the words that they cherish the most. “One of my favorites is the Cumbrian word glisky,” wrote novelist Sarah Hall, “meaning a kind of bright flashing light that you get after it has rained, when all the surfaces are wet and reflecting.” 

Aminatta Forna, a Scottish-born writer, described an Orkney word: “Plitter: to play about in water, to make a watery mess.”

Clot, claret, neshthrawnslipe, whiffle-whaffle: all were extolled. (Will Self lovingly recalled a compound word that formed a complete thought: “Pipe-down!,” one of his father’s “interwar slang expressions that are long departed from the common lexicon.”)

The chance to luxuriate in the materials of one’s craft is irresistible; reviewing The Guardian’s feature, New Yorker writer Rebecca Mead could not help but tender a richly branching sentence concerning a word she holds dear:

I cannot say the word ‘procrastinate’—a useful word for a writer—without hearing embedded therein 'cras,' the Latin word for 'tomorrow,' which, St. Augustine noted, sounded like the croaking cry of the dilatory raven that was sent from the ark and never came back.

My wife, a writer, could not even let me finish describing The Guardian’s assignment. “Luscious!” she exclaimed. And then, slowly, “luminous.” And finally, “Frangelica. It’s fun to say.”

According to the compendium Favorite Words of Famous People, the first word the exuberant stylist Nicholson Baker loved to say was broom. From there, the list evidently grew so quickly and lavishly, it required the most exquisite attention:

Of abstract nouns containing the letter l, my favorites are 'reluctance' and 'revulsion.'  The ‘luct’ in 'reluctance' functions as an oral brake or clutch ('clutch' and 'luct' being sonic kin), making the word seem politely hesitant, tactful, circumspect—willing to let the hired tongue have its fun before completing its meaning.

Ocean is one of the words I love most. I love the surging sounds it makes: from the slow, enfolding swell in Seamus Heaney’s Beowulf, when the forlorn men watch Shield Sheafson’s funeral pyre disappear “far on out into the ocean’s sway,” to the menacing rush that occurs when the word, amassing an extra syllable in the mouth of Henry V, overtakes the bounds of our modern ears:

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more, Or close the wall up with our English dead! In peace there’s nothing so becomes a man As modest stillness and humility, But when the blast of war blows in our ears, Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood, Disguise fair nature with hard-favored rage, Then lend the eye a terrible aspect, Let pry through the portage of the head Like the brass cannon, let the brow o'erwhelm it As fearfully as doth a gallèd rock O'erhang and jutty his confounded base, Swilled with the wild and wasteful ocean.

There’s no telling what Shakespeare himself would have written in response to The Guardian’s query. But if frequency of contact is an indication of affection, it is worth noting, as Brad Leithauser did in a 2013 New Yorker piece, that sweet and its kin appear in The Complete Works close to a thousand times. A search of the Shakespeare concordance on OpenSource Shakespeare reveals a word that arrives with nearly the exact same frequency: time. Joining that pair is think. Good arrives three times as often, as do thou and shall. Death (918) and life (890) are separated merely. And all are surpassed by the forms of love.

The Labor of Transcending Love

Ross Gale

25305644 When I sat down recently to start a short story, I wondered what kind of stuff I was bringing to the creation. Maybe I was over-analyzing my thought process, but I already had these images, ideas, and tones and had yet to create even a single character. If our stories are to have life-giving meaning and value, what do we start with? My hunch borders on love: love for our readers, love for our characters, love for language.

I started reading this idea into the novels and movies I enjoy the most. I see this love in Marilynne Robinson’s characters in her fictional Gilead. So much so she’s written three novels about them. It’s not a love that gives everyone a happy ending or a success story. It’s an authorial love for complexity and conflict, for tragedy and new ways of seeing the world.

In John William’s novel Stoner, it’s about a love of language. This is an inclusive love, which is why the divine can be so powerful and evident in Ian McEwan’s Atonement or J.M. Coetzee’s Diary of a Bad Year, where atheist novelists give us language for forgiveness and praise. I feel this love, overwhelmingly, in Terrence Malick’s films. More so in character’s whispered meditations and the captivating images.

Love can also be a missing piece, even in stories about love. The plot of Interstellar hinges on love transcending the laws of physics as we know them, allowing Cooper to exist outside of three-dimension space-time and manipulate the past through gravity. All because the connection he has with his daughter (whom he abandons to save mankind) allows him to communicate with her from the future. If Christ's love can transcend time and be our lone saving grace forever, then why do I harp on such a small plot piece in an epic movie, a love that transcends? It's because love in Interstellar is cheap, just one of those givens. Cooper abandons his family to save earth, but he still really wants to return to them because he loves them. I don’t buy it. It's not earned. We have to accept it, regardless of how it appears for the sake of the plot.

David Brooks would disagree with me: “‘Interstellar’ will leave many people with a radical openness to strange truth just below and above the realm of the everyday. That makes it something of a cultural event.”

But I want something more. For a movie that says a lot about science and mankind, it doesn't say enough about humanity. It’s not based in a love for characters as it is in love for ideas about relativity and a post-earth mankind. It has all the furniture and tools, but that doesn’t make a home. We can have stories full of stuff, but we also need them rich in truth, not just strange truth, but truth that speaks to us from the past into the future. There’s a certain kind of work that crafts characters and narrative that’s more than epic. It’s a sublime labor based in love. We need to point to that kind of work; keep striving for that kind of love to truly transcend time.

Aimless Love

Abby Jarvis

il_570xN.359267815 Billy Collins’ poem “Aimless Love” strikes a special chord with me. The poem, wherein Mr. Collins falls in love with “... a wren/ and later in the day with a mouse/ the cat had dropped under the dining room table,” makes me remember my first love. I was only a child, and it was a brief affair — a deep, fleeting affection that was not reciprocated — but which set the tone for many of my experiences as an adult. My first love, you see, was an ant on a clover in my neighbor’s yard.

My sister and I decided to “go on a safari” outside. So we packed a backpack with some paper, a magnifying glass, and several apples, and solemnly announced to our mother that we were Going Outside to Be In Nature. Off we went, and, through some series of events, I ended up face down in a neighbor’s yard watching an ant on a clover. As I watched it climb, I felt a sudden deep, fierce love for that bug. It was so small, and the flower it climbed was so much larger than it was, and the grass in the yard towered over it like a forest, and I was keenly aware of how large in the world I was, and how clumsy, and how apt I was to overlook small things like ants on clovers.

Such love seems very human. I always tend to roll my eyes when people throw around the phrase “God is love.” It makes me think of awful little Victorian cherubs and vacuous worship songs. I’ve always thought of God more in the Old Testament sense — the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob who spoke light out of the darkness, who stopped the sun in the sky while his people fought at Gibeon. God is love, of course, but I have always thought of God’s love in a more terrible, cosmic kind of way, not the kind that’s fussed by everyday details. That’s why the passage wherein God is described as knowing when a sparrow dies always startles me — it’s hard for me to imagine. But it is a beautiful thing to know that God does know when a sparrow dies, or that he cares even for the lilies in the valley, or that he can count the number of hairs on my head.

That ant was a long time ago. But I am now very familiar with that sudden, painfully clear love for small things. Like Collins, who falls in love with steam rising from a bowl of broth, whose heart is “always propped up/ in a field on its tripod/ ready for the next arrow,” I direct my affections at odd, unsuspecting people or objects — my friend’s face, illuminated as she bends over the stove; the shape of my cat on a chair; a particular shade of green. It’s a fleeting, aimless love. But I do like to think that, maybe, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is looking with me and loving the details. Even the ants on clovers.

Love Letters from Cell 92

Joy and Matthew Steem

JBandsmer_Bonhoeffer-1 Not long ago I had a conversation about a few of the respectable – or at least often mentioned – names in Christian theology. You know the ones, people who are associated with the “serious” kind of precise Christian foundational, and pristine – if not a little tart – triune doctrinal correctness: the first names that come to mind are Calvin, Luther, Knox, Edwards etc. For many, the term “serious” often identifies the most pertinent associations with theologians. Indeed, while the Oxford English Dictionary has quite a few connotations associated with the word “serious,” amusement, pleasure-seeking and amour are not – most gravely too, we might note – associated with it. “Serious,” I am afraid, means just what we think. It seems to me, most people think that “if it ain't heavy, sober and serious, it aint theology”! Indeed, seeing the name Bonhoeffer— the author of the sober sounding The Cost of Discipleship and Ethics, pretty weighty texts for those who know them on a conference announcement sprung my mind into “serious” mode. Even while reading about his “religionless Christianity” and the inseparability between a theologically-centered life and a life-centered theology, I was still reading with my “serious” eyeglasses on. Concepts like God’s “ineluctable reality” and God making himself a mediator between man and reality can often sound rather ... “serious.”

Then I read Love Letters from Cell 92. This correspondence between Bonhoeffer and his fiancée, Maria, made the “serious” part melt like a popsicle beside a Jacuzzi jet. To be sure, in the aftermath I realized that I had not lost any of the good stuff, only the “serious” took on a newer, more replete and vibrant meaning. I found that in the midst of the deep stuff there was also the soft and delicate and gentle flowering of beautiful emotionally dripping romance in ... yes, Bonhoeffer. Reading Love Letters alongside his other works is like putting on a pair of 3D glasses which bring to clarity the fuzzy image before us; it seemed that here in Bonhoeffer was serious theology concomitant with joyous[1] emotionality.

I heard fizzing sounds come from my head. Sure, both of those things can fit together conceptually, but in actuality? Many can even connect the blood and flesh in the Eucharist, but a theology that is both serious and joyous? Is it possible? Apparently, Bonhoeffer the serious theologian could just as easily entertain solemn ideas of thick theological import as enraptured romps of romantic fancy. Take the following note to his sweetheart, “you need to know what I am really feeling and not view me as one born to be a hermit on a pillar ... the desires I have ... are very earthly and tangible.” Bonhoeffer ends his letters with soft sentiments of love: “I give you a long tender kiss and embrace you”; and, “now, my beloved Maria, be tenderly embraced and kissed and loved, more and more, by your Dietrich.” In case we are wont to think such words as mere formulaic convention, Bonhoeffer laments in a letter to a friend that, as a couple, he and Maria had to “deliberately repress” all the normal aspects of engagement: this included the “sensual and erotic elements.” I figure this adds a good bit of clarity to the not being “a hermit on a pillar comment” for any who might be confused.

So, in returning to Bonhoeffer’s idea that a theologically centered life (let’s insert the word “humanity”) is inseparable from a life-centered theology, I am reminded that true life/humanity has, along with its seriousness, both joy and – at least for some – a good bit of romance. I was reminded that we also need not be trepidatious about embracing the most joyous aspect of humanity – love. After all, Bonhoeffer did – seriously.

[1] In a letter to Maria, Bonhoeffer quoted Adalbert Stifter, who said, “pain is the holiest angel who reveals treasures that would otherwise have remained hidden.” Bonhoeffer continued on in saying that, while he appreciated the angel pain, ”there is an even holier angel than pain and that is joy in God.”

(Photo by Judy Bandsmer)

Arise, sad heart . . .

Melissa Reeser Poulin

cherry-blossom-7

Arise, sad heart; if thou do not withstand,

Christ’s resurrection thine may be:

Do not by hanging down break from the hand,

Which as it riseth, raiseth thee.

    ~ George Herbert, “The Dawning”

My husband and I are arguing over the saying for March: is it in like a lion, out like a lamb, or the other way around? Ice on the windshield this morning, and by noon, sunshine on the back porch.

For us, it was February that came in like a lion, bringing pain and fear. We lost a baby we very much wanted, and less than a week later, there was a heart-wrenching crisis in the life of a loved one. I had been praying for trust, for the Lord to teach me how to lean on Him, and in the weeks that followed, I learned.

Faith challenges us to give thanks even for the difficult times, to see and to seek God through any kind of weather, to feel pain and anger and reach both hands out for Him. Faith challenges us to offer up questions, yet it doesn’t promise answers. Faith is its own answer.

As it turns out, my husband is right: In like a lion, out like a lamb. He is quietly triumphant in his small victory over the writer in the house, and I’m stubborn enough to keep riffling through internet pages for confirmation of my version.

Like the fickle month it describes, the saying itself has a history of change. It started out as a generalization, then morphed into a predictor that could be applied either way: If March comes in like a lamb, it will go out like a lion. It’s a nice theory of balance, but it breaks down in practice, especially in these days of climate destabilization and super storms.

Because the reality of spring—the reality of resurrection—is both. Christ is both lamb and lion. So is spring. So is trust.

I know God didn’t cause this pain, but I know He is working in it. It is uncomfortable to give thanks in the midst of grief. It goes against a lifetime of habit. I can’t do it, so I pray weakly and ask God to do the rest. He does. Love keeps breaking me open, and the bulbs we planted in fall keep pushing their way through the ice.

Loving the Expanse

Daniel Bowman, Jr.

14 spring

The point of marriage is not to create a quick commonality by tearing down all boundaries; on the contrary, a good marriage is one in which each partner appoints the other to be the guardian of his solitude, and thus they show each other the greatest possible trust. A merging of two people is an impossibility, and where it seems to exist, it is a hemming-in, a mutual consent that robs one party or both parties of their fullest freedom and development. But once the realization is accepted that even between the closest people infinite distances exist, a marvelous living side-by-side can grow up for them, if they succeed in loving the expanse between them, which gives them the possibility of always seeing each other as a whole and before an immense sky. . . . For the more we are, the richer everything we experience is. And those who want to have a deep love in their lives must collect and save for it, and gather honey.

  — Rainer Maria Rilke, from Letters to a Young Poet

On New Year’s Eve I had the privilege of attending the wedding of two of my dearest friends in cold, lovely Georgetown, Ontario (bonus: I had set them up). I pulled double-duty as a groomsman and reader. The passage I read—shown above—surprised me when I first saw it. I had read Rilke’s famous book of advice when I was young, but I’m sure I arrogantly passed over some of the language about an “expanse” between us, and the “impossibility” of merging. I was twenty and in love and those words didn’t account for how I felt! But here was this wonderful couple on December 31st, 2013—in their late twenties, well-read, self-aware—who had chosen a passage focusing on the distance between them to be read at the very event that would bind them together.

I read the passage in the ceremony. And I’ve contemplated it many times since. I’ve been meditating on the facts that “even between the closest people infinite distances exist,” and that if people can accept such a truth, “ . . . then a marvelous living side-by-side can grow up for them, if they succeed in loving the expanse between them, which gives them the possibility of always seeing each other as a whole and before an immense sky.”

2014 will mark, to my eternal gratefulness, my sixteenth wedding anniversary with the woman I love. I’ve begun to wonder how many of the problems Beth and I have lived through over the years can be traced to my failure to honor, much less love, the expanse between us. Instead, at my worst, I try to change her, to transform her into something much less that the fullness of who she is. That robs her—robs us both, really—of our “freedom and development.”

And that robbery is, frankly, nothing short of evil.

So I think back to New Year’s Eve when I celebrated two dear friends pledging vows. One of those vows was a profound determination to love the expanse between them. As I look toward spring, I’m thankful that this long winter will be over. I think of the increasing warmth of the sun, and the return of living, growing things. Yet I can see that true renaissance—rebirth—will only come into my life if I, too, vow to see Beth each day “as a whole and before an immense sky,” and to love the expanse between us.

Let us go forth and gather honey.

Women Who I Love

Stephen Swanson

Stephen Swanson finally admits to loving women.  Surprise!

With this being near V-Day and the midst of the "Love Relief" campaign, I felt the need to write about something more pleasant than my anger with legislatures, both state and federal, or what's happening on the Bachelor.

I need to think positive, and you should too. Therefore, I want to write about my love for women. No, not THAT kind of love. Sure, I could talk about my wife or mom. I could write about my sisters. I could write about the wonderful, strong, and intelligent women who are my colleagues, both online and IRL.

However, there's a group of women that I respect more than any other at the moment: my students.

This is not to say that I do not have wonderful male students, friends, and colleagues. I do. They're great!

But, unfortunately for them this semester, I have some women in my classes that are not only dedicated, sharp students who make teaching fun and interesting on a daily basis but who have also overcome considerable obstacles to be there.

Take, for example, on of the students in my afternoon class. She is what we would call a non-traditional student, meaning that she is not 18-23, and I had the pleasure of teaching her in the prerequisite course. At the beginning of that term that I first had her, she struggled with everything. Not only was she frustrated with her own lack of experience with computers and word processors, she had a strong sense of self-criticism, that she just wasn't a very good writer.

This week, she not only led a discussion on her own but also takes time before class to help other students get their work formatted on the computer. She, like the rest of us, still struggles with self-doubt, but she does not let it stop her cold like it had.

I have a whole set of women with whom it is my pleasure to work as part of the dual-credit program which teaches high school students so that they get both high school and college credit for their work. They are not only smart, funny, and hardworking, but they have begun to take pride in the very value of intellectual pursuit in an environment where little value is placed, especially within their gender sub-culture, on thinking and consideration.

Now, I can only take a very small part of the credit for their evolution as students, but I can own the pride and affection that I have in them and a society where they can be what they are and become even better.

Therefore, in a new spirit of "Valentines", I urge you all to express your pride, encouragement, and...yes, love, to one another, as least for a few days in February.  We all need it.

Stephen Swanson teaches as an assistant professor of English at McLennan Community College. Aside from guiding students through the pitfalls of college writing and literature, he spends most of his time trying to remain aware of popular culture, cooking, and enjoying time with his wife and son. He holds degrees in Communications (Calvin College), Film Studies (Central Michigan University), and Media and American Culture Studies (Bowling Green State University). In addition to editing a collection, Battleground States: Scholarship in Contemporary America, he has forthcoming projects on Johnny Cash and approaches to analyzing detective narratives in terms of ethical responsibility.

Luci Shaw's Spiritual Erotics

Brad Fruhauff

A propos of our Love Relief campaign, Relief's Poetry Editor considers what it means to look with love at something while reviewing Luci Shaw's What the Light Was Like (Wordfarm, 2006)As a point of order, he wishes to say that he began this post well before Valentine's Day, but while it's become a propos of the occasion, it is notably about Shaw's "spiritual erotics" rather than, say, the canned greetings you'll get today from e-cards.

...To find some kind of essence-- the soul within the structure, taking my body in their eyes and fingers in a kind of lovemaking. I the love object.

As I read the above lines from "Life Drawing" in Luci Shaw's What the Light Was Like, I was struck by how they fly in the face of a line of postmodern thinking that is vexed by the power of the gaze. After all, seeing is almost the same as knowing in Western thought; we tend to act like seeing gives us essential information about people and things, when in fact we often see what we expect or desire to see - think of racism or sexism, but think also of your attitudes towards the elderly, or children, or liberals or conservatives. The gaze can be an extension of a mind anxious to avoid the surprises and risks of dealing with individual persons, a mind looking to see only iterations of what it already knows. The clichés of Valentine's Day come from the fossilization of our concept of love, from our inert and idealized notions of romance.

One might fault Shaw for being too complacent about her own looking in this book. One could accuse this gaze as being just as domineering and male ("They'd work to get beyond surfaces / to penetrate what lives / inside" [emphasis added]) as so many that have come before. But that would be to miss the point. As the book's title indicates, these poems are not about finding the same light everywhere she looks - about casting her gaze like a spotlight that turns all things one color - but describing "what the light was like" in specific places and persons. Shaw no doubt looks with an expectation of finding beauty, but it is a looking that at least tries to be open to the looked upon.

Thus she speaks of her looking as "loving," as "witness." These words put her looking in relationship to people and things rather than guarantee her authorial distance. In "Life Drawing," she puts herself in the object's place, imagining herself as a nude model in a drawing class. She calls the students' looking "a kind of lovemaking," and she, though naked and exposed to the ostensibly male gaze, is not merely object, nor sexual object, but "love object."

The challenge for a Christian reader and writer is to look with and bare oneself to this love. As Shaw models it, it is to believe that this love will discover the light without trying to trap it or own it.

At the same time, the co-creative capacities of art play a role in transforming the love object. In "The Redress," the speaker compares the other's gestures to a "too-large shirt" given her by someone else merely to cover her nakedness. Then she imagines undressing and redressing the other, performing a kind of makeover. But this makeover seeks to realize the fullness of the other, to provide her with "a silky second skin / that will keep growing as you grow."

If you've noticed the amount of sex and nudity, you'll appreciate my reference to a "spiritual erotics." Shaw's sexuality in these poems is as innocent and liberated as in Milton's Eden. Baptized by love, erotism becomes an electrifying pulse between and amongst people and things, truly part of our shared lives together. Its purity consists in its generosity; this love celebrates the other and seeks first to give of itself or to give honor and praise, rather than seeking sexual possession.

On this day when the word love is spoken with the casualness of a curse word, it's lovely and good to read Shaw as she luxuriates in her daughter-in-law's hospitality:

"I love the crisp word apple, with its hard and soft sounds, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . the way light offers itself without measure, the way Christa reverses the Fall, slicing herself out to us-- her own tart sweetness--without reserve.


Brad Fruhauff is Poetry Editor with Relief. He holds a PhD in English from Loyola University Chicago and is currently an adjunct instructor in the Chicago area where he lives with his wife and 2-year old son. He has published fiction in The Ankeny Briefcase, poetry in Relief, Salt, and *catapult, and reviews in Burnside Writers’ Collective and The Englewood Review of Books.

Faith, Love, Acceptance: All Summed Up in a Yogurt Shop

Travis Griffith

Travis Griffith shares a brief moment in time that, in his opinion, sums up all that is right with humanity. Does it? We'd love to hear your stories too!

Sometimes conversations about faith get so bogged down in philosophy that we forget to look at the human aspect.

We can discuss the relativity of truth and whether or not Jesus is a triune God until we throw up, then wonder if we even got anywhere.

Religious commentary and mock speeches for the pope are interesting and worthy of conversation, but what about the little moments that happen in everyday life that so often go overlooked? Sometimes that's where the answers, or at least the most valuable lessons, lie.

One of those moments happened last Tuesday when I was at a small, locally-owned frozen yogurt shop with my two kids. The shop is in a university district and frequented by college kids (especially on Tuesday nights... $1.69 mediums!).

On this night, among the throngs of nubile college co-eds, two of the oldest people I'd ever seen were there; sitting a few tables away from us. This couple had to be close to celebrating their hundredth wedding anniversary. The man, wearing a matching tweed hat and jacket, was hunched over and moving slowly. The woman was seemingly frozen in mid-bite. A folded up walker rested against the man's chair. The couple didn't say a word to each other and seemed oblivious to the incredibly diverse, laughing, chatty, text-messaging crowd that surrounded their table.

I was just amazed that the kids had enough respect to keep their distance and allow the couple to enjoy some peace. But then the frail lovers of frozen yogurt began the arduous process of getting up from the table and exiting the building. It was then that a complex choreography of absolute human beauty unfolded.

First, one of the college girls at a table next to ours nudged her friend and uttered a quiet, "Cute..." as the couple stood up. Then a man across from their table fluidly stood up, while talking on a cell phone, and in one motion unfolded the old man's walker and set it in front of him before gracefully falling back into his seat and not missing a beat in his conversation.

Walker in place, the couple put on their jackets and made their way for the door. Crowds parted to allow them access.  A customer just entering the shop stopped and held the door open for much longer than would have been necessary, allowing the couple to exit without having to lift a finger.

The couple's Cadillac was parked directly in front of the shop, but the man had to shuffle down the sidewalk until he could step off a lower part of the curb before shuffling his way back up to his car. By the time he got there and started the process of opening the passenger side door, another yogurt customer was passing by and opened it for him. The man gave a small nod before disappearing into the leather-clad abyss of the Caddy's interior.

The man's walker was still outside the car though. His wife managed to fold it up, but when she opened the back door to slide the walker in, she lost her grip on the door and it slammed shut. A customer exiting the shop with her daughter noticed, and opened the door again. She even took a moment to slide the walker onto the rear seat. The old lady smiled, held her purse in front of her chest with both hands, said thank you and began to work her way around to the driver's seat.

As the white reverse lights blinked on, I mouthed the word "wow" to myself and went on with regular conversation. Everyone else in the shop was either engaged in conversation or had thumbs flying across phone keypads. They were oblivious.

The amazing thing about this? No one who helped the couple seemed to notice the person who helped just prior. This was not inspired kindness, but pure, genuine individual compassion that when viewed from 15 feet away looked like a perfectly timed and choreographed TV commercial for human grace. It was nothing short of heart warming and inspiring.

In that little yogurt shop, and for no more than five minutes, humanity came together as one to help an elderly couple in need of a little love and assistance. Then everything returned to normal. But for that moment it didn't matter what religion anyone in that shop followed. Prejudices and orientations and races and beliefs were all overshadowed by one commonality between us all:

Pure, unconditional acceptance of humanity.

Ahh... if only the rest of life was so easy.

Have you seen any similar moments of human compassion unfold? Let's hear your stories!

***

Travis Griffith, who left behind the corporate marketing world, choosing family and writing in lieu of “a comfortable life” financially, is a former atheist trying to define what leading a spiritual life really means. His children’s book, Your Father Forever, published in 2005 by Illumination Arts Publishing Company, Inc. captures only a fraction of his passion for fatherhood.