Love is the most beautiful of all human relations. The dictionary meaning of love is a feeling of constant, deep and strong affection for another person. Love often is bound only to romantic relationship, but love is boundless. We experience the whole gamut of human relationship in love –babies fill parents with tender love, a mother forgives the wayward son because of her unconditional love, or a daughter travels thousands miles to be with her ailing mother because of her selfless love.
Friends, I have a question for you: can we measure love ? On the surface it seems we cannot but on a deeper level perhaps we can. Let me examine it. In America, as in many parts of the world, to honor all mothers and their amazing contributions, Mother’s Day is celebrated every year on the second Sunday of May. But for some of us, thousands of miles away from our own mothers, whom we cannot meet, hug, or greet in person, it’s a bittersweet day. I thought – could I celebrate in a different way. I referred to dictionary. According to the dictionary , love is a noun as well as a verb. As a noun love is uncountable but when it is a verb, love means action, and action can always be measured. If love can be measured, what are the categories?
Last time when I was visiting my mother , it was Diwali, the festival of light and I showered her with lots of gifts. She was waiting for me at the airport – I touched her feet, which we do in my culture. There were many memorable moments as my mom prepared my favorite dishes while I reminisced old times, the joyous memories. I also talked and checked on her wellbeing, any underlying health condition needing attention or urgent care. Friends, there are five broad categories of behaviors that people engage in to express love: (1) words of affirmation, (2) affectionate touch, (3) gifts of celebration, (4) spending quality time and (5) acts of service.
Friends, today, I am going to narrate two stories both based on true incidents, when I experienced those emotions and when I finish, you will be able to experience one, some, or perhaps all of them.
A few years ago, in the year 2018, when I was visiting my home town in India I happened to meet a special person – his name is Govin. During our conversation, I noticed visible scars on his face and while we were taking a stroll he was limping slightly on his right side. In the prime of his life a freak accident shattered his world and turned his life upside down. One day, while assisting someone, high atop a tree, he suddenly slipped, and his body came into direct contact with a live high voltage electrical wire. The incident left him with severe burn wounds on the upper and lower right side of his body. Fortunately, he survived, though it took months of hospitalization to recover and to become healthy again. He had no insurance and the medical cost was quite high. In the face of the catastrophe when he was drowning in excruciating pain and mental trauma, it was his mother who pulled off a miracle in his life. She carried the burden, working long hours and two to three menial jobs to foot his medical bills and keep the family afloat. He slowly recovered and eventually his life turned a corner. Govin, with hard work, established himself as an entrepreneur and became the richest man in his town. The story, however did not end there. The dedication and sacrifice of his mother made a profound impact on his life and thus Gobin decided to establish an organization named “MAA Anusthan” which means celebration with mothers.
The organization , conducts events where elderly women abandoned by their own family or aged mother living alone are invited. Govin showed my some of the footages of those events. Each of the mothers was presented with gifts including clothes and items of necessity and then they were served warm food prepared by his family. Occasionally there was community participation with local singers and performers joining in to enliven the joyous moment. Govin took utmost care and ensured that each mother was filled with abundance of love throughout the day of celebration. As Govin became more well-known, he took his mission to a higher level - visiting schools and colleges where he shared his unique story to young students. Through his life story he reminded them that they had a responsibility to their mother and Govin would encourage them to spend more time with their parents. He would also read letters received from the women whom he supported – how these abandoned and abused women were touched and loved, something that they had never experienced before.
That year, my meeting with Govin egged me on. I was determined to make a difference but I had to figure out how to do it in the city of Dallas where we live. After online research and several phone calls, I came into contact with a charitable organization who facilitated meetings and greetings between senior citizens and anyone who is willing to experience the joy of sharing. I along with my family visited a local Rehabilitation & Nursing Center on 14th May 2018 where we celebrated the day in a unique and fulfilling way. My wife, recited a glowing poem dedicated to mothers while my daughters brightened the day playing violin. Some of the mothers who had not recently meet their own sons or daughters, were delighted to receive flowers, cards, chocolates and stuffed toys from us. While taking a tour inside, I met a lady in a wheelchair. I had an animated conversation with her, when she pointed to a picture of a young marine with a radiant smile. When I asked if he would come to visit her, she choked up a little and said he would never come back. As I touched her hand, I felt we were brought together as if by some divine intervention, intertwined in the common thread of love and sharing. As we left, we realized that the seemingly little things like passing out handmade cards, poetry recitation, playing a musical instrument, are acts of love that not only make a lasting impact but also fill the hearts and minds of both the doer and the receiver with immense joy and happy memories.
Friends, love is not merely a noun, love is also a verb, and love is made manifest through action. Individuals like Gobin, through his selfless act of love and singular quest, makes a difference in other people’s lives. Gobin , in turn , made me realize that even if we are away from our own mother, we can serve someone else, celebrate and feel fulfilled. Friends, we can measure love and let us fill someone else’s life with words of affirmation, affectionate touch, quality time, acts of service and with gifts of celebration.
Toastmasters Speech video link