June 25, 2006
To an ordinary human being, love means nothing if it does not mean loving some people more than others.
George Orwell, 6/25/1903
I wonder if he's talking about "affection." I think I have affections for some people more than others and this comes from my own personal tastes and self-interests, perhaps. But "love" is something else. "Love" must be an all-encompassing blanket, or it just isn't love.
When I think of love on a grand scale, I think about my trip to Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina. I think of the convoys of trucks bringing supplies from countless different states. Love. I think about convoys of tree cutting machinery and buses full of miscellaneous donated supplies. Love. I think of mountainous piles of clothes in various parking lots from people who loved and wanted to do something to show it. I think of the volunteers we fed who drove in from neighboring states and flew in from as far as California to cut downed trees off of people's property. Love!
On our way home we stopped at a gas station in Alabama and filed in to use the restrooms. Two local ladies stood at the counter chatting and observing our small crew traipse in. Finally, one smiled and poured out her southern sweetness upon us, "Y'all came to help us, didn't you," she said with great affection. A lady in our group told her we had. "All the way from New Jersey!?" She gushed, flattered, and thanked us from the very bottom of her sweet loving heart. We went back to our van feeling the love personally - a gift for us to carry home warmly in our hearts. We were loved back.
I was stewed in love down on Lake Ponchartrain. I got to witness and bathe in an atmosphere of unmeasured love without having to suffer the pain that evoked that love. People don't love those in Louisiana any more than they love those in North Dakota. People have love across the board for one another whether they know it or not...and they long to give it without measure to all. Perhaps the "ordinary human being" of whom Orwell speaks just hasn't yet had the opportunity to recognize that within himself.