Once I was sitting and talking with my father when he received a call from one of his close friends in India. They talked for a long time. I went into the kitchen and ate some vegetables my father had prepared from his garden along with some garbanzo beans made in the classic Indian style.
During the meal, I could hear some of the conversation. After I was done with the meal, I prepared some Chai and slowly sipped on it. Half hour later they were still talking. When the conversation ended, my father appeared very silent and thoughtful. I asked him what happened.
My father told me that his friend’s wife passed away six months ago and that his friend was very lonely.
“Old age can be very difficult. I was mostly listening to him,” said my father.
“Well, you both talked for a while and I hope it helped,” I said.
My father explained the situation and said, “I don’t know if it helped. We are old friends and he seemed sad and he was reflecting on his life as we talked. He kept saying throughout the conversation that although he had had many friends in his life and had been married and had children and a family, he never really received genuine love from anyone.”
Hearing about my father’s friend, I also became silent. This is the human condition, is it not? We all know the truth of it. We want attention and love but often do not receive it. Many people, as they get older, embittered by their life experiences become sad and cynical.
My father went into the kitchen and started eating lunch. I prepared another cup of Chai and sat down with him. “What did you say to your friend,” I asked my father.
“I did not say much. We just talked,” said my father.
“No, I mean when your friend said that he had never really gotten love from anyone, what did you say? How did you console him?” I asked my father.
My father said, “I told him I loved him.”
“What did he say in response.” I was very curious.
“He said, he knew that. That’s why he called. We are childhood friends. But he still insisted that he really had not gotten the kind of love he wanted from anyone during his whole life,” said my father.
“What did you say then?” I asked being fully engrossed in the scenario.
My father said, “Well, as we were saying goodbye, I told him that love is not something we get, it’s something we give.”
“Love is not something we get. Its something we give.” I remember my father saying that many years ago.