Archived 11-03

thepragmaticthinker.com

“Like to Love You”

By Larry John

“Which is the first commandment of all? And Jesus answered him, the first of all the commandments is, . . . thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.” -- Mark 12:28-31

It is certain, by Christian Law and by most all-religious teaching we are commanded to LOVE. Specifically we are commanded to LOVE our neighbor. And by definition everyone is our neighbor. Our neighbor is our neighbor, our brother is our neighbor, our children are our neighbors, our parents are our neighbors, our sister is our neighbor, our wife is our neighbor, our husband is our neighbor, our boss is our neighbor, our friend is our neighbor, our enemy is our neighbor, our in-laws are our neighbors, the people at the office are our neighbors, the people at the supermarket are our neighbors, the people in Afghanistan and Iraq are our neighbors, the billions in China are our neighbors, Catholics, Mormons, Jews, Buddhists, Atheists, Agnostics, Hindus, Christians, Moslems, Baptists, Methodists, any kind of “ists” are our neighbors. The blacks, whites, yellows, reds, pinks, blues, and browns, no matter the color are our neighbors.   And we must love them all. We can’t choose which to love, for we have been told by most all great thinkers, gurus, religious leaders, and Gods to love them all.

Now I don’t know about you, but as for me…that is pretty darn easy. I can love anyone that I don’t know very well. I find it easy to love. It is really easy to love a Chinese person who lives in China. I have never been to China, and don’t know anyone who lives there, so I love them all…all forty billion of them. I find it easy to love my neighbor’s wife. I don’t have to live with her and she seems like a nice enough person… nice enough to be loved as a neighbor. I find it easy to love John Lennon. I never met John Lennon, but I love his songs and if I love his songs, it is easy to love him. John Lennon I can love as my neighbor. I find it easy to love Johnny Carson. I used to watch him every night on TV. And Johnny Carson made me laugh. I love to laugh, so I love Johnny Carson. I have never met Johnny Carson, but hey…what’s not to love, right? I love Buddha. I love Jesus. I love Confucius. I love Mohammad. I love Paramahansa Yogananda.  I have never met these people but love their teachings and if I love their teachings, it is easy to love them. I love George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and Ulysses S. Grant. These were all hard working guys…so I love them. I love them like I love all my neighbors. I really love them all. Loving is easy.

So what’s the big deal about having to love people? Again I love everyone…everyone that I haven’t met that is. It is the people that I know that I can’t stand. Now don’t get me wrong. I love them all. I just don’t LIKE them very much sometimes. It really seems the more I know someone the less I like them.  They bug the heck out of me. Not all the time, but they can really make me mad. Why is it that people I know and “love” the best, make me the maddest? John Lennon doesn’t make me mad. Johnny Carson doesn’t tick me off. George Washington doesn’t bore me. I don’t get tired of hearing Jesus and Buddha talk talk, talk, talk, talk and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. But I really don’t KNOW these people. But as soon as I know someone… really know them, they can really irritate me. Again, don’t get me wrong. I LOVE them; it is just hard to LIKE them sometimes. But the funny thing is… I always LOVE and LIKE Ulysses S. Grant. Strange huh?

And I say things to my “loved ones” that I would never say to Paramahansa Yogananda.
Sometime I am not even nice to those I love the most. But I am not the only one. Not that that is an excuse. But I have seen most other people do the same thing. They might love their neighbors, but they sure treat them like dirt. And the more they love them the more they feel they cannot LIKE them. So which is the hardest thing to do…. to love someone or like someone? I think it is harder to LIKE someone. Yep. Liking is harder than loving. I love a lot of people I can’t stand. I don’t hate them. I love them. I just don’t like them. And again the more I know someone the more I feel I have the right to not like them. Loving them isn’t a choice, liking them is.

All people deserve my LOVE; just not all deserve my LIKE. But the funny thing about people I LIKE, I normally LOVE and normally that means “diddlely”. You don’t have to worry if I say that I LOVE you. I will treat you like gold. You just have to worry if I say I LIKE you. I may say and do things that are not as nice as I would say or do to a total stranger. It is like I have the Female Praying Mantis Syndrome. One minute I will be kissing you and the next minute I will be biting off your head. However, remember this is only if I like you. If I don’t know you very well, you don’t have to worry. What’s up with that?  But again, I’m not the only one. There are a lot of people like me out there. I’ve observed them. Some of “them” are you.

And maybe it is because the commandment says, “Love thy neighbor as thyself” and perhaps not many of us LOVE ourselves. Perhaps the hardest thing to do is LIKE thyself, and “loving” all your millions of neighbors, that you don’t really know, is easy. Liking yourself is the hard part. Perhaps the commandment should say, “LOVE thy neighbor as thyself, as long as you love yourself like you do a perfect stranger, or better said, LOVE yourself like you love John Lennon.”  I can do that. That wouldn’t be so hard.

I love me, I love me not, I love me, I love me not, I love me. Man, my whole life is like plucking the pedals off the daisy. I love me, I love me not, I love me I love me not, I love me. I just hope when I leave this world the last pedal is… I LOVE ME.

Think about it.