Maybe because we are enjoying the most fabulous, blue-sky days in May, my thoughts have been turning to love. I came across a quote from George Washington Carver: “Anything will give up its secrets if you love it enough.” As I was grooming Siete yesterday, I decided to make a commitment to loving her more, since I often feel that I love her mother too much and Siete feels it. This makes me wonder what kind of secrets she has that might be revealed if I give more of myself to her.
My daughter is reading John Steinbeck in her English class. And she is now at the age where boys and crushes and the first pangs of love are swirling around among her friends. She watches them with amusement and astonishment, not having experienced these feelings yet herself. So, we have had an on-going discussion on this subject, to which John Steinbeck has made an unexpected but helpful contribution. Last night, I discovered a letter that he had written responding to his son, Thomas, who had fallen in love. It was so appropriate and charming that I shared it with my daughter. Here is what Steinbeck said:
“There are several kinds of love. One is a selfish, mean, grasping, egotistical thing which uses love for self-importance. This is the ugly and crippling kind. The other is an outpouring of everything good in you—of kindness and consideration and respect—not only the social respect of manners but the greater respect which is recognition of another person as unique and valuable. The first kind can make you sick and small and weak but the second can release in you strength, and courage and goodness and even wisdom you didn’t know you had.
Glory in it for one thing and be very glad and grateful for it…The object of love is the best and most beautiful. Try to live up to it…It sometimes happens that what you feel is not returned for one reason or another—but that does not make your feeling less valuable and good…And don’t worry about losing. If it is right, it happens—The main thing is not to hurry. Nothing good gets away.”
John Steinbeck in a letter to his son, Thom.
I realized that what Steinbeck was saying really applies to everything and every creature that you love. One of the other interesting things about a love that has the duration of many years is that it ebbs and flows. So, with each season that passes, my relationship with my little horse changes depending on how much I am willing to put into it. We may not have spent much time together over the last few months, other than the day-to-day routine tasks that I do to care for her and Silk, but no ground was lost. I can start right now to reaffirm how I feel. If I love her enough, she will know it.