WHAT WE REALLY NEED IS LOVE!
Text and Photo by Henrylito D. Tacio
Just what is love? I Corinthians 13:1-8: “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away…”
The 13th verse says it all: “And now these things remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
Willi Hoffsuemmer tells the story of an intelligent young king who ordered all the learned professors of his kingdom to gather and write down all the wisdom of the world. They got right down to work and forty years later, they had a thousand books packed with wisdom.
The king, who had meantime reached sixty years of age, told them, “I cannot possibly read a thousand books. Reduce all that wisdom to basics.”
After ten more years, the professors reduced the world’s wisdom to a hundred volumes. “That’s still too much,” the king said. “I’m already seventy years old. Condense all that wisdom into absolute essentials.”
So the wise men tried again and squeezed all the wisdom of the world into just one book. But by that time, the king was lying on his deathbed. So, the leader of the committee summarized the condensed book to just one sentence: “People live, they suffer, they die. The only thing that outlives them is love.”
This inscrutable thing called love has been with us since time immemorial. In fact, thousands, if not millions, of poems have been written on this subject matter. Perhaps one of the classics was the one written by Elizabeth B. Browning to her husband: “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways, / I love thee with a love I seemed to lose, / With my lost saints, – I love thee with the breath, / Smiles, tears, of all my life! – If God choose, / I shall but love thee better after death.”
A lot of songs have also been written about love. Eric Carmen croons: “Love is all that matters.” Perry Como believes, “Love makes the world go round.” Kenny Rogers agrees, “Love will turn you round.” However, the Eagles band thinks that “love will keep us alive.” Peabo Bryson knows that “love always finds a way.”
Some love songs beg. “Love me for what I am,” the Carpenters suggest. “Love me tender,” Elvis Presley urges. “Love me tonight,” Tom Jones adds. Engelbert Humperdinck reiterates, “Love me with all of your heart.”
Meanwhile, he was one of the most sought-after bachelors in Europe. Then, at a house party, he met Mrs. Wallis Warfield Simpson, an American who was married to her second husband, a London shipping broker. As fate would have it, he was smitten by her. He asked whether she missed American central heating. She replied, “I’m sorry, sir, but you disappoint me… Every American woman who comes to your country is always asked the same question. I had hoped for something more original from the Prince of Wales.”
In January 1936, when King George V died, his son – the Prince of Wales – became the king. He was known as King Edward VIII. Before long, rumors circulated about his alleged romance with Mrs. Simpson. On October 20, Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin counseled Edward, as king and head of the Church of England, to remove all cause for the rumors. A week later Mrs. Simpson was granted a divorce, to become final in six months.
In November, King Edward confided to Baldwin that he intended to marry Mrs. Simpson even if it meant his abdication. A morganatic marriage was proposed, but the cabinet was unwilling to accept this compromise. On December 11, 1936, therefore, the king abdicated in favor of his brother, the Duke of York, who became King George VI. Edward received the title Duke of Windsor and married Mrs. Simpson in June 1937.
“But you must believe me when I tell you that I have found it impossible to carry the heavy burden of responsibility and to discharge my duties as King as I would wish to do without the help and support of the woman I love,” Edward was quoted as saying.
See, what love can do – a king gave up his throne for the woman he loved? “Love comes from the most unexpected places,” says a line of a song. Virgil in Ecologues, X, wrote: “Omnia vincit Amor; et nos cedamus Amori.” (“Love conquers all; let us too yield to Love.”
“The need to love and be loved is the simplest of all human wants,” Charles Galloway once said. “Man needs love like he needs the sun and the rain. He perishes without it. His basic longing is to be the object of love and to be able to give love. No other need is quite so significant to his nature.”
Bert Balling recalls this story: In an American orphanage, there was an eight-year-old girl who was so quiet and withdrawn and mysterious that none of the other children liked her. Even her teachers let her know in various ways that they would not waste any sympathy on her.
One day, the children came running to the headmistress to report on some of her strange goings-on. “She’s sneaking mail out of the house,” said one of the children. “She’s always writing secret messages onto slips of paper and hiding them in various places in the garden. In fact, we just saw her attaching a little note to a tree trunk and another one to a high wall.”
The headmistress called together her assistants. They were going to get her to the bottom of all this nonsense. So, they called in the little girl and demanded, “You’ve got to tell us where you hid your last note.”
Without saying a word, she ran straight to the tree, with all the grown-up women out of breath trailing her. They all saw the piece of paper hanging on the tree. They took it down, and on it in crooked letters was written: “Whoever you are who finds this note, I just want to say, I love you.”
Yes, all we really need is love.