Column – It’s always the season for love
Published 5:20 pm Friday, February 17, 2023
As a high school English teacher (of 39 years) I used to draw on the chalkboard a huge heart with the inscription, in large letters, Happy VD. Obviously this had the desired effect — a discussion of love and a warning against unprotected “free love.” The word “love” has many many meanings. Let’s examine some.
To modern Americans, love is an emotional state much to be desired. It conjures up visions of two thirty-somethings with two young children. Implied are: physical attraction, compatibility, family and happiness. All well and good, but let’s look at the big picture.
The medieval Catholic church differentiated between two types of love, in Latin, “caritas” and “cupiditas.” The first, “caritas,” gives us the word “charity.” There abideth these three, faith, hope, and charity, and the greatest of these is love.” Christian love, love of fellow man, love of one’s neighbor as oneself. The second term, “cupiditas” has more cupid in it. It is defined as desire, for earthly things. It’s not just physical desire; it’s desire for wine, worldly possessions, earthly pleasures of all sorts.
Email newsletter signup
So there is the basic choice, love of others or love of self-gratification with earthly feelings.
Twenty years ago we moved into our lovely Suffolk neighborhood and very soon realized what a tub of love we had fallen into. Ours is a culturally diverse neighborhood where everybody knows everybody’s names, and the names of everybody’s kids and the grandkids and even the pets. Folks stop and visit and chat in yards and on front porches. It’s truly a community of folks who love their neighbors as themselves. We share gardens, great food, joys, and sorrows. We help each other with just about everything. It’s old school.
These 20 years later, it really is old school. Most of us are retired now, some of us are aging out of doing things we were once able to do — all the more reason to pull together. Recently and more frequently, a number of neighbors are putting on their wings and flying off to heaven. So those of us still here check more frequently on those who are ailing and unfortunately we’re meeting more often at funeral homes. These are all milestones of living and loving and being part of a loving community.
The bright side of all this is that life and love go on. Young families are moving in and bringing new life to our street. They are having babies and they’re refurbishing houses; a new vitality is here. They have been welcomed with open arms, house warmings, baby showers and all the love and care this neighborhood has to offer. We’re glad they are here to share the love and keep it going long after the rest of us are gone and they’re the old folks of the neighborhood. We’re passing the “love baton” in the great race of life.
Susan and Bradford “Biff” Andrews are retired teachers and master naturalists who have been outdoor people all their lives, exploring and enjoying the woods, swamps, rivers and beaches throughout the region for many years. Email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.