“Enveloped in his unconditional adoration of me, Paul taught me how to love”
Taken from my introduction of Paulie and Me, this line in the poem speaks to love. Yet in order to talk about love, I also believe it’s wise to consider the many different kinds of love, not to mention those opposite feelings and emotions such as one’s fears and insecurities.
With Valentines and red hearts everywhere, love does seem to be an appropriate topic right now. For weeks, store shelves have been lined with shiny red heart-shaped boxes brimming with tasty chocolate treats. Restaurants have no tables left to reserve and the Valentine card shelves are picked bare.
What is pure love? What does it mean to you?
Is love chocolates and romance? Is it a mother caring for her child? Is it the caregiver supporting a person with special needs?
Whenever Paul’s cell phone beeps with a text or rings with an incoming phone call, his face breaks into a smile and he says laughing, “Ha! Somebody loves me!”
One day I asked him, “How do you know somebody is calling because they love you,
what if they were calling to harass you?” My inner chatter at times.
“Hahaha, no way Bernice, of course not!” He laughed out loud.
What a wonderful way to go through life. Believing that everyone loves you. It seems as though Paul has no fear, only an abundance of love to share.
It’s a security and trust that Paul carries within himself, that enables him to make his way through life spreading love. It’s as though he lives completely in each moment and rarely let’s fear rule him. He continues to teach me . . .
All of my life, I have felt safely wrapped in Paul’s unconditional adoration of me. And this is why. Paul never lashes out in anger at me. He might say, “Bernice, stop,” if he is getting frustrated because I am pushing too hard on something, but he never withdraws his love. If he becomes angry, it is usually entirely appropriate and never hurtful. He doesn’t seem to fear that I will leave him. If I berate him or become impatient, he’s not afraid that I will stop loving him. He knows and trusts that will never happen. He loves me in spite of my flaws. When the occasion arises for me to apologize, Paul simply leans over to hug me and tell me it’s okay. Because of this, I am not afraid either.
It is this surety and trust that means the deepest of love to me and for that I am most grateful. I consider it a privilege to be loved by Paul.
What about you? When you think of real, unconditional love, do certain people or experiences come to mind? For most of us too, we know individuals who also show us how not love; yet even this can propel us towards an inner knowing of what’s right and better for our own lives—and how to exude love and how to BE love like Paul.
As the song goes, “What the world needs now is love sweet love . . .” Can we be a catalyst? We can try . . .
Author, Bernice Ranalli
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