Best-selling author Leo Buscaglia has written perhaps more books on love than any other author. Buscaglia was born into a large, very loving and expressive Italian family. He had a wonderful childhood—until he started school. Then he found he was marching to a different drummer. He didn’t like popular music; he liked opera. He didn’t know any American fairy tales; he knew only Italian fairy tales. And though he lived in a loving, passionate, and faith-filled family at home, at school he was a prime misfit. The school officials thought he was impractical. His English language skills weren’t high enough. Experts said his view of the world was unrealistic, and in their wisdom, they placed him in a school for mentally disabled children and labeled him “retarded”.
Fortunately, Leo was blessed with a very special teacher, Miss Hunt, who saw in him (as she saw in all of her students) rich potential. Buscaglia blossomed under Miss Hunt’s love, support, care and encouragement. After six months, she insisted he be re-tested. He then rejoined a regular classroom. But he always remained friends with Miss Hunt, not only because she exhibited love for him, but because she gave him a colossal opportunity to love and appreciate someone outside of the confines of his family and his comfort zone.
Love expresses exactly like a boomerang. When you send it out, it comes right back to you.
Years ago, in most orphanages in the Baltics, children were well cared for but not given very much “individual” attention. One small group, however, whose caregiver took time each night to hold and rock each baby before putting it to sleep, seemed to especially thrive. Psychologists at first believed it was the act of being held that made the difference and they began filming the nurse as she tended to the children in her care at bedtime. What they discovered was that the children were reaching out to the woman more than she was reaching out to them, because they were literally starving for someone to love.
An ancient legend tells about three kinds of givers: a flint, a sponge, and a honeycomb. The flint doesn’t give us anything of its own accord. To get anything from a flint, we have to strike it sharply, and even then, it gives only a spark. The sponge is much more generous, but we do have to squeeze it. It works only under pressure. The honeycomb, however, gives of its own accord. All we have to do is take the honey off the top, and it continues to produce more. Why? Because the honeycomb has a renewable source. It is connected to life. It’s a product of creative energy and that creative energy is love.
All living things are infused with love, even all living people. Some may seem to be poor at expressing it, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have it in them. For instance, hardened criminals begin to turn their lives around when given a puppy to love and train as a seeing-eye dog. Boom . . . boom . . .boom . . . boomerang! Check it out for yourself.
For many years, a church that I served collected new teddybears to give to the local police department for their officers to comfort children who had been in accidents, or fires, or were part of the scenery in episodes of domestic violence. On “Teddy Bear Sunday”, our congregants brought their teddies to church and we encouraged them to infuse the toy animals with love during the service, before we turned them over to the Police Department. During a meditation, I would often observe big burly men and some perpetually grumpy old women, with teddy bears on their shoulders, lovingly patting their backs (usually totally unconsciously), their eyes closed and their minds at apparent peace. Especially if our guard is down, none of us can resist giving love with no restraints when presented with an opportunity.
So – if you’re feeling a lack of love in your life, and you’re pining for someone who will “fill you up” with what you’re missing – you’ve got it all backward. To feel the massive healing power of love, it is essential for you to give yours away.
What if you spent some of your time with a lonely person? What if you shared some of your talent with someone who wants, maybe even needs, to learn something you’re well equipped to teach? What if you simply played with animals waiting for adoption, babies in sterile environments who are starving to share their love, or with anyone who is trying desperately to learn to speak your language and needs you to talk to them and then listen?
The more love you give, the more you get – because love really is a boomerang.
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