Was John Lennon right? Is love all we need? I was reading my New Year‘s Horoscope on the subway on January 1st while returning home from an awesome New Year’s Eve party at the Bata Shoe Museum downtown Toronto. My horoscope said that this year would be a year of great personal growth and it ended with this statement: “you have an important message to share with the world and that is – love is, was and will always be the answer to every question.”
On reflection, I think this is the message, deep at my core that I know to be true. I spent some time reflecting back on the choices that I made this year and it is evident that where I put love into the equation things generally worked out for the best for me. Where I lacked love and instead added frustration and stubbornness to a problem; it became worse.
My example is this: I own a house in which I was renting to a family that intended to purchase it at the end of the lease. This family fell on hard times. However, the woman was very stubborn, hard to deal with and often paid her rent late even when things were going well for them. After the six bounced cheques (and after I returned from a vacation where a close friend had deceived me and took money from me for a place that I never actually stayed at) I returned home to Canada ready to fight.
While I had been “loving” and understanding for the previous year and half, I had as they say, “lost that loving feeling” and I was ready to evict these irresponsible, non-paying tenants. Now in terms of justice, I was well within my rights and everyone I spoke to about the situation said, “Oh, evict them! Get rid of them!”. However, deep inside my core, I knew that fighting with this woman was not the answer. I knew how stubborn and belligerent she was as I suspect that’s all she had known most of her life – and knew no other way of dealing with the world and those around her. Hence, she was well-practiced at fighting back. Though it had been difficult I had, for a year and half, approached her with understanding and love and while she never seemed to appreciate it very much, she did always eventually pay her rent and come around. However, after a year and half of dealing with her, I was tired of being so loving and understanding.
This time, when I chose to fight her – she dug in her heels and fought back and somehow, as the justice system always seems to – it failed me. I was stuck with this family in my home for nine months (yes, NINE months) without paying me a dime. It was a delayed eviction because she had lost her job and was a single mother (funny enough her husband was there to help her move!). In any case, it did not turn out for the best for me, financially, emotionally or mentally.
I specifically remember the day of the court date. I was staying in a local hotel as the tribunal was in another city and I felt compelled to read the bible – most hotels leave one in the bedside table. I was not looking for any specific scripture but I will never forget to what page I just happened to open the bible. It was the scripture, Timothy 2 Verse 2-3, “Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel, instead he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth and they will come to their senses.”
I believe the overall message that God or the Universe was sending me that day was instead of fighting with my tenant, I should have treated her with love and in some way, instead of threatening her with eviction (even though I was legally entitled to do so) I should have found some other resolution. Do I believe the Universe wanted me to get taken advantage of and “turn the other cheek?” No. I believe that our Divine Creator has great wisdom and he/she knew exactly what kind of person my tenant was and how she would react to me beginning a quarrel with her and that I would most likely lose, which I did.
How could I have responded in love instead?
I could have negotiated with her for payments or went to see her and asked her what was really going on and how I could help. It would have required a lot of understanding and courage on my part but as it turned out, that would not have been any more difficult than watching a stranger live in my house for nine months while I paid all of her rent and utilities. Needless to say, hindsight is twenty-twenty isn’t it?
So what do I do from here?
I learn the lesson that love probably was the answer to this problem and probably is the answer to many, if not all, questions. Most people who are rude, disrespectful, cause us issues or we have conflicts with is because they have not had enough love in their lives. It is very difficult to return evil with love but I am going to begin writing a few blogs on how to become more loving and approach each and every situation with love. Here’s to 2013 being the “end of the world as we know it” regarding negativity, violence and problems and it being a “new year” of approaching every “question” with love. Let’s face it, approaching every question with bitterness, frustration, or anger hasn’t solved anything. Anyone ready to try a one year experiment with me and bring nothing but L.O.V.E. to this world?
Of course, first we need to understand what love is – it is not always an emotion – sometimes we may not feel any love for someone, but we can still “act” in love.
Next Post: Love – What is it?