So not only did you teach me about writing memoir, you also taught me about reading and thinking about how others write memoir. Thank you so much!

p.s. my mom now refers to me as the family "chronicler" - getting down all the family stories. How I love that title!! :)

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Sunday, February 9, 2020

Who do you love?

We are not going to heal our divide with more hate, anger, and name-slinging. We are not going to heal by firing our enemies, shaming, belittling, or being cold, hard, and mean. Love is the only thing that softens the heart. It is the only thing that softens rage, and yet it is the hardest gift to bestow on those who push our buttons—be they in our families or in our political spaces

This is a quote from Maria Shriver's Sunday Paper which I follow. Today I learned that she had and loved a horse, just like I did. Another reason I relate to her writing, I think. I hope she represents most of the women in the world, especially in our country. The women I know do love others even if they don't go to the same church, vote the same party or pull for the same teams. I learned to love people of a different race when I had been raised in a culture that said I should not.

I am fortunate that I have known great love in my long life
Even those times when I didn't recognize it, I had love.  First from my mother, then from my sisters, and especially from Barry, my soul-mate. 

Love is about the way someone looks at you. It's about the way someone talks to you. It's about their tone, especially when they disagree with you. Love is about showing up and caring, even when it’s hard.

I don't think I was easy to love when I was a kid. I was often moody and down. But Mother loved me, cared for me in my worst times. Gay, my sister, loved me, and I know that was not always easy. She, the even-tempered, fun-loving and kind person, put up with my moods, my ups and downs, and always stood by me.
The Council sisters, June in front, Glenda and Gay.
June, my older sister had an unconditional love for me that I wonder at today. From the time I was a little girl, she was my hero. She made things better for me -- in my family and at school. She was my voice when I did not know I had a voice. She put me on her list of those she loved and cared for. When I was accused of behaving badly, she would not accept it. She stood down my brothers and my father even though it drained her emotionally, and she cried when alone in her room. I saw that same behavior when she felt her children were maligned. She was a bear when those she loved were in trouble and she was not afraid to stand tall and fight. That is what love is. 

In this month of Love with Valentine's Day approaching, I wish we all would think of loving others as best we can, even if we don't agree or have differences. 

If I had let our differences stop my love for my brothers and my father, I would have forsaken the joy of being with them when they told stories, sang songs, and teased me beyond what was fun. One of my sweet brothers, Rex, passed away on Valentine's Day, 2009. This holiday never ceases to remind me of him and how close we became as adults. I know he loved me, and we certainly had different political beliefs. He saw the world through eyes that had seen pain, that had sacrificed for his family, and he felt he had damaged them to save himself from drowning in unhappiness. He was generous to me and to Barry. We knew his love and we loved him dearly.
Council Brothers, from left back row. Hal Council, Max Council.
Front row from left: Rex Council and Ray Council - young men in the 1950s
In today's world when the word love is thrown around so recklessly, I try to use it only for those times I really mean it. I love my neighbors, Marsha and Alice. They are so generous and caring to me. How could I not love them? I love my dear friends Mike and Estelle who are always there for me when I want a friend to listen and help me through the tough times. I am not obligated to love them. They are not my blood relatives, but they are more a part of my life than some of my family now.  

Two people who have been in my life for forty years have changed in many ways from the couple I met so long ago. At times I miss the man and woman I enjoyed back when we were young. To me, they seem more rigid, more judgmental now, but I know they are good, kind and loving people, and I love them. I am grateful they have been in my life all these years, through sickness and in health. I am happy to see them on occasions such as celebrating Gay's birthday this month. I disagree with them on certain things now, but that doesn't change the fact that we care deeply for each other.  We try to avoid the subjects that bring about tension when we are together. Why waste the precious time we have together?
I think there is a country song, You can't make new old friends. I want to hang on to my old friends.

I wish for all who read my writing here that you have love in your life, and you give love to those around you. 
Don't judge people who differ from you, but give them understanding and reach out with love, not anger or hatred, resentment or revenge. 
I believe that fear has driven us apart in this country. We are taught to be afraid by what we hear and see on television, especially the news channels. 
If we are afraid of our neighbor, we will not know when he is in need, and will not help him. 
If he is afraid of us, we might suffer needlessly because he won't know and reach out to us .
Don't let fear run your life. It is the enemy of freedom. 

Have a lovely Valentine's Day, and remember those who are elderly and those who have no special person in their lives. Remember your parents, if you still have them, and remember the teachers, the people who have helped you become who you are today. Show some love to the young people who need to know they matter. Send them a note to show you care. Let's use this Valentine's Day to show love in every way to the people in our lives.


DJan said...

Thank you for this lovely post today, Glenda. As you know, I too wrote about love of those who were not family but became as dear to me as if we were. I am ashamed to say I had forgotten about Valentine's Day this year, but now I will remember it with love to those dear to me in so many ways. And I send a prayer to you for your brother, who is on the other side, waiting for you to join him some day. Blessings and much, much love. :-)

Elephant's Child said...

Love and laughter are both precious things. Things to be cherished, things to be nurtured, things to be celebrated.

Abbie Taylor said...

What a lovely article. Happy Valentine's Day!

Glenda Beall said...

Thank you, DJan and EC for your comments and for your loyalty all these years. I enjoy reading your words and look forward to your comments here. Wishing you lots of love, laughter and joy in the coming days.

Glenda Beall said...

HI Abbie, Thank you. I am still having trouble commenting on your blog it seems. At times it works fine, others it just won't go.
I love to see what you are up to next.