It has been said that the meaning of life is love. If that is true, what is love? Can love be in the abstract, like “I love the whole human race” or is more required?
I expect the “experts,” whoever they are (not songwriters, novelists or columnists for sure), would suggest that love is what love does, not just what a “loving” person carries in his or her heart.
To be specific, the question today is whether love is a kidney. A few years ago, after our oldest grandchild, “Half Nelson,” reached adulthood, he decided he wanted to donate a kidney.
He read that more than 70,000 people were on a national waiting list, staying alive daily by dialysis or other means, and that 19 die every day waiting for a kidney. Only 6,000 transplants take place each year.
So, he contacted the Transplant Center and volunteered to give one.
It’s not a simple or painless process. He was subjected to a psychological evaluation, X-rays, EKGs, MRI and blood tests and tissue evaluation. Then he waited until he got a call that a “match” was available for transplant.
So, the kidney was removed and sent to a “nondirected” person, unknown, by his request. No handshakes, no hugs or thanks from the stranger miles away.
Was giving that kidney an act of love? If it was, was it just an instant of love when the kidney was surrendered or did the love last longer than that? If the recipient died a week after getting the new kidney, was that the end of the love?
If you love your great-grandmother and she dies, is her death the end of the love? If you pull a stranger out of the ditch, is that an act of love? And if it’s love, is the love over when you drive away? If you see him in the ditch and feel compassion but don’t stop, was that compassion love?
Look, I don’t have any answers to the questions of what love is. I know it exists and it is part of the heart and soul of what we are as human beings (which might give rise to the question of whether dogs can love –- another column maybe). I told you not to look to songwriters, novelists or columnists for answers.
This paper has directed me to raise questions and stay away from trying to answer them. And keep it short. I may disappoint you, but I’m just trying to do my job.
Love you for reading to the end.