As a youngster in a small three-child household, the bathtub was the one space where you could be alone. What did I do? I learned to sing loudly and freely when I took a bath. And while my two brothers would snort and laugh at my singing, I developed strong vocal cords and abdominal muscles by singing louder than my brothers’ guffaws.
Romantic love songs topped my list of songs-to-sing in elementary school. My imitation of “Johnny Angel” by Shelly Fabre was so strong that I was gutsy enough to perform it one Friday (with the record) for my fifth-grade class. I was lauded as a future rock star. I am so glad there were no cell phones to capture that humiliating moment.
In junior high, my school bus driver with teeth like a wolf controlled us by playing our favorite rock station if we were quiet. Sit down and shut up or the music will go off!! Thanks to hours spent on that school bus, I learned almost every word to love ballads of the Beach Boys and Beatles.
By college, I was humming Simon and Garfunkel and Carole King. I wore out my vinyl record of “Sounds of Silence” because I now knew that hearts could be cut open by love and that communication was tricky business. No matter, you could depend on friends to pick you up by playing frisbee with you in the rain while singing “You’ve Got a Friend.”
It ended up that love for a friend could last. I married one. Fast forward a decade or two and we had formed a family with two boys. Often the days were a circus act with pop tarts spinning across the room, homework papers stuffed in backpacks, and essays stacked high to grade. But there was also music and magical moments that etched the love of family in my heart. I remember alternately tickling and hugging my young sons while singing, “You are the sunshine of my life.” They still are.
By the time I was in my forties an occasional rock song would power through the fog of motherhood and work. I remember many late nights soaking in the kids tub (our only tub) with my small boom box playing yet another love song. This one was a post 9/11 treasure by Black Eyed Peas. It asked, “Where Is the Love?
What’s wrong with the world, mama?
People livin’ like they ain’t got no mamas . . .
Whatever happened to the values of humanity?
Whatever happened to the fairness and equality?
Instead of spreading love we’re spreading animosity
Lack of understanding, leading us away from unity . . .
Where is the love?
Where is the love?
Where is the love?
Where is the love?
I played this so many times, I remember my poor husband tapping on the bathroom door to ask if I was okay. Of course, I was more than okay. I was jubilant whenever my soul touched the power of agape. This song was a call to action for all of us to bring love back into the cracks and messes we have created on this planet. A genuine call to love humankind. To practice a universal love.
Love songs. Love poems. I am still a sucker for them. They teach us the many kinds of love that can weave us together in a beautiful tapestry. A tapestry of love. In this month I am going to celebrate all forms of love and work to bring them more fully into my life. I wish the same for you.
The Gift of a Poem
Let me begin my celebration by sharing a poem with you. Last year, you might remember, two young friends of mine were married in Cabo at the height of a COVID surge, and I could not go. Later we had a small celebration, and I discovered Drew’s wedding poem. His gift for his new bride, Kate. Imagine Drew’s deep voice reciting this for his love. His words float through the room with a gentle-rap cadence. I still tear-up with the memory.
Kate and Drew on their wedding day last year.
What is love?
By Drew Castle
Love is beyond one meaning.
Love is seeing and believing.
Love is the tapestry in which we experience being.
Love is the reason you are free to choose who you want to be even if others don’t agree
Love is a social apparatus. Beyond race, religion, political stance, class or status
Loving is not judging what others do, but finding compassion and understanding that they too are part of you
Love is the reason that you care. You fly to Cabo, pull up a chair and support two individuals become a pair
Love is the opportunity for another trip around the sun. Traveling hundreds or thousands of miles to witness that pair become one
Love is knowing you’re never alone even if your son or daughter is grown and no longer home. Love is staying up late for that call from a different time zone
Love is providing a safe space no matter how hard so that a young star is free to discover who they are.
Love is deciding to be with whom you chose to be unconditionally, without a judgmental society
Love is in the loss, it’s in a conflict with a boss. In the shadows and in the moss, staying true to yourself at all cost, it’s a sacrifice upon a cross.
Love is losing it all and feeling small until you again begin to crawl and eventually stand tall and realize it was within you all along.
Love is breaking down all the walls, feeling raw and listening to the calls, love is a universal law inviting you to make withdraws
Love is another round trip to see those that live is a different zip for the countless years of friendship
Love is far and love is near. It’s a hot summer day and tossing your bro an ice cold beer. Here here!
Love is in the waves on a cliff up in a cave, a fresh set of TaylorMade blades. 300+ yards down the middle of a narrow fairway.
Love is a choice, giving power to your voice breaking bread with thy neighbors raising a glass as we rejoice
Love is never late it’s always in its place waiting for you to take a break, it’s the icing on the cake, learning from our mistakes, replacing fear with humble fate. Holy Spirit activate
So you see, love for me, comes in many forms and many things. What this realization brings is the freedom to grow some wings. You are free you are free you are free
Love is now what we do, it is simply who and what we are, it is an art. A vibration, an expression from which we are a part, this is why we feel it in so deeply within our heart
I love you all with all my might and I ask you this tonight. What’s does love for you look like? Mine is stunningly dressed in white.