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For love or money? (02/13/2011)
By Janet Lewis Burns
The true measure of a man’s wealth is how much he’d be worth if he lost all of his worldly possessions.

There are but a few things so valuable that it would be impossible to put a price tag on them. A person’s good reputation is a fragile commodity...handle with care.  A healthy spiritual connection nurtures peace and goodwill.  Good health is too often taken for granted.

Loving relationships are treasures.  There are many forms of love and passion. Amour and romantic reverie can turn an otherwise sensible sort into a blathering idiot! February 14th has been designated as a day to celebrate romance and love.  Valentine’s Day has been gaining popularity as a costly occasion, both financially and emotionally. Go figure!  Those newly smitten are head-over-heels, and nothing is too good for the “main squeeze” in one’s life.  The big secret is out! “He went to Jared!”   

I remember many years past, when a hubby would come home late for dinner (which was usually called supper then,) from too much happy hour downtown, on hearts and flowers day, with a peace offering. How handy that local establishments just happened to be selling pull-tabs for those heart-shaped boxes of chocolates, with the gaudy, pink plastic flowers on top! 

The kiddies devoured the candy before Mommy got her special meal warmed up and put out on the table. Today’s little woman would never let him get away with that!  The first mistake would likely cost him a DUI now, and he wouldn’t get away with any more than the shirt on his back. Let’s face it, today’s lustful affairs of the body cost the partner who gets caught big time! 

Who, old enough to recall the incident, could forget the one liner that endeared a soft-spoken, doe-eyed President Jimmy Carter to a red-blooded society rife with infidelity? “I’ve lusted after another woman in my heart,” a repentant, southern drawl confessed. The guy is sentimental, that’s for sure. He did compose a poem book for his beloved Rosalynn, after all.

Maternal love can be the sweetest and most vulnerable sentiment of all! When my oldest grandchild Alyssa was a babe, I told this touching story, still gentle on my mind. A child’s whimper floated into my mindless sleep, arousing a motherly instinct that hadn’t surfaced for many moons.

Surely I was dreaming! Slanted cracks of moonlight, from sagging window blinds, eerily slithered across my tie-dyed nightshirt as I stumbled through the dark, in what would soon become the playroom, across the hall from our bedroom.     

Seeds of remembrance blossomed when I saw those little moonlit arms reaching out to me from tear-stained cheeks, her first overnight visit. I lifted her vibrant, submissive body from the crib to the breast that once soothed her mommy...my perfect granddaughter. How could I have forgotten her, even for a moment, in my exhaustion? 

For the love of nature and the earth, many poets have sung their praises to honor an inborn respect for, and awe of the natural world. I immediately thought of the one-time U.S. poet laureate, Robert Frost. He penned this tribute:

“And were an epitaph to be my story/ I’d have a short one ready for my own./ I would have written of me on my stone:/ I had a lover’s quarrel with the world.”

 For many city dwellers, the outdoors is merely what one passes through from a taxi to an office or a restaurant.  In a mad rush, they fail to note what clutters or adorns their concrete pathways.  Within the seclusion of spacious, airtight homes, the natural is shut out by designer window dressings...and the distant, unsettling racket of war, familiar fallout of a big screen’s evening news.

Emily Dickinson shall have the last word:

“This is my letter to the world,/ That never wrote to me,/ The simple news that Nature told,/ With tender majesty./  Her message is committed/ To hands I cannot see; / For love of her sweet countrymen, / Judge tenderly of me!”  


Janet Burns can be reached at  patandjanburns@embarqmail.com.



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