“The majority of us lead quiet, unheralded lives as we pass through this world. There will most likely be no ticker-tape parades for us, no monuments created in our honor. But that does not lessen our possible impact, for there are scores of people waiting for someone just like us to come along; people who will appreciate our compassion, our unique talents. Someone who will live a happier life merely because we took the time to share what we had to give. Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have a potential to turn a life around. It’s overwhelming to consider the continuous opportunities there are to make our love felt.”
― Leo Buscaglia
Oh goodness, when I read this quote and I was tongue-tied. There it was – the power of love – explained.
Leo Buscaglia, also known as “The Love Doctor”, “Dr. Hug”, was a renowned thought leader from the 1970’s and 1980’s, a motivational speaker, writer and inspiring professor from the University of Southern California (USC). He was the professor that taught the ‘Love 1A’ class, or ‘the love class’.
I listened to one of his hour long talks on YouTube, in which he told a wonderful story about a student who experienced firsthand the impact of a simple “Hello” and a listening ear. It went something like this.
There were a lot of assignments in Dr. Buscaglia’s love classes that he called ‘voluntarily mandatory’. One of them was that each student had to go out into the community and do something for somebody else. When confronted with this task, many of his students would stare at Dr. Buscaglia and ask, “What do you mean, do something. What’s there to do?”
Joel was one of them. One day Buscaglia said to him, “Okay Joel, let’s go make a visit.”
Buscaglia took Joel over to the convalescent hospital near the campus at USC. Inside there were many aged people, lying around in beds, staring at the ceiling.
Joel stood there taking in the scene and said, “What do I do here? I don’t know anything about gerontology.”
“Good!” Buscaglia said. “You see that lady over there wearing the printed cotton gown, lying on her bed? Go over and say hello to her.”
So Joel went over to the woman and said, “Ummm, hello.”
She looked at him suspiciously and then asked, “Are you a relative?”
“No,” said Joel.
“Good, I hate my relatives,” she said and then pointed at the chair beside her bed. “Sit down, son!”
Joel sat down and they started to talk. Buscaglia watched. She told Joel about how her daughter came to visit, but it was always done reluctantly. She could tell. She spoke about love, about pain, about suffering, about life, and even about approaching death with which she had made her own peace. She knew all these amazing things, but nobody had cared to listen to her – before today.
Joel was touched by the visit and started going back once a week. He became such a regular visitor that the folks in the hospital called these the “Joel Days”. And it all started with that first visit, when Joel thought he had nothing to offer. It started with his simple “Hello.”
Charli Mills’ talks about the control the power of fear has over us in her post from February 3, 2016. The antecedent to fear is the power of love.
Did you know that we are born with love already in us? We are taught how to fear.
Sadly love does not come with an instruction booklet so that we can easily re-learn it. And with Valentine’s Day a week away, I want to add that it’s also more than the romantic love everyone talks about.
Love is a magical, ubiquitous power, seemingly elusive, metaphysical in nature and quite confusing at times.
Yet there’s almost nothing in life that love cannot change. Love is the power that lets us surmount our fears. It transforms the most commonplace into beauty and grace. It moves mountains and travels through space. Love is unselfish, understanding and kind. It is the language every heart speaks. It is the feeling every person seeks.
When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace.
– Jimi Hendrix