A few years ago a man by the name of Leo Buscaglia taught a popular university class at USC called "Love 1A." While he was teaching, he was profoundly affected by the suicide of one of his prize students. She was a young girl who had sat there every day a few rows back from the front, smiling and nodding, encouraging him at a time when he felt rather shaky and uncertain of his lectures. Then one day she was gone, and the next and the next. He later found out she had ended her life. It shook him to the core of his soul.
He realized that, while the young lady was cheerful on the outside--even encouraging him--on the inside she was hurting. Through his teaching and his books (for example, Living Loving and Learning), he went on to try to emphasize the extreme importance of loving and caring in human relations.
There is nothing on earth that has been more talked about, yet less really practiced, than love. When I say "love," I don't mean sexual attraction. I mean the act of caring deeply about another person, as God cares for us. There is nothing that lifts our daily load, cheers our spirits, and lightens our way like true love. Yet on a daily basis it seems hard to get, and even harder to give.
We are all needy. We are thirsty, craving love like a dry land craves water. None of us get enough of it. I have noticed in my own life how a kind word, a smile, a cheerful greeting can lift my spirits in an amazing way. Recently, worried about a problem, I called a certain organization for prayer. The lady on the other end said her name was Lydia, and that she would be glad to pray for me. She was so kind, and her prayer lifted my spirits so much, I almost felt like I was talking to Jesus. I'll probably never meet her, but her kind words on the phone did me a world of good.
Recently my older daughter, who lives in Vancouver, told about an experience in which her husband contracted a staph infection while on a trip and they had to visit a clinic in another part of Canada. She said the nurses and other attendants at the clinic were almost unbelievably kind. Listening to her describe their experience, I remarked that if all nurses and doctors were like that, almost everyone would get well. Not everyone would, of course; still, there is something to that. There is strong healing power in love and kindness.
Some people complain about this miserable planet on which we live. But I have come to the conclusion that most of the misery in the world is caused by man's inhumanity to man. Yes, we bring on most of our own misery; we bring it on by our selfishness and lack of concern for others. In other words, our lack of love. And I'm one of the guilty. So often we fail to love. And we fail to love most likely because we didn't get love when we needed it most.
This earth would be a veritable paradise if we just loved each other and treated each other accordingly. The source of love is God. So how do we get more love? The answer is obvious.
A relative of mine once wrote something about love, and at the end of his little essay, or poem, he made the startling statement: "Love is all there is." At first I thought he was wrong. There are plenty of nice things in the world besides love, I thought. But are there really? The Apostle Paul said, "The greatest of these is love..."
There are, of course, many things in the world. But I have concluded that, from the standpoint of value, my relative was absolutely right: love is so important, so wonderful, so joyful, so transforming, so healing, that we could say with very little exaggeration: love is all there is.