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Affection – the Humblest of Virtues

Affection

Affection is the humblest love-it gives itself no airs. It lives with private things: soft slippers, old clothes, old jokes, the thump of a sleepy dog’s tail on the kitchen floor. The glory of affection is that it can unite those who are not “made for each other,” people who, if not put down by fate in the same household or community, would have nothing to do with one another.

Affection broadens our minds: of all natural loves, it teaches us first to notice, then to endure, then to smile at, then to enjoy, and finally to appreciate, the people who ‘happen to be there.’

Made for us? Thank God, no. They are themselves, odder than you could have believed and worth far more than we guessed.”  C S Lewis

This particular excerpt from CS Lewis has always appealed to me. I suppose it represents what I find in my own large, extended and crazy family. A motley crew for whom I have the greatest affection and am also aware that they have affection for me. How lucky is that.

In an era of continual judgement about everyone’s shortcomings I come to value the human capacity to be able to tolerate each other’s foibles,  blind spots,  and just plain old fashioned mistakes. Along with all the wonderful things that we love about each other the whole catastrophe is what makes up our lives.

It is the same with friends. We will all disappoint each other from time to time. It can’t be helped. Life is not about ensuring that everything is designed perfectly just for me, or you, or the next person, all the time.  This is so easy to say but at a deep level it is so very true. Like death, we all know it will happen to others but harder to picture that it will actually happen to me.

Second chances

For many people this month is painful. And it is often because of fractured or disappointing relationships. I am a believer in second chances and mending fences. Blame it on my Mother and Grandmothers. They were all like that, and believe me, I am so grateful.  There is enough suffering in the world and if we can do anything to ease that suffering within our own circles of influence than I am all for it.

This month, affection is my current favourite word. It rises to the top of my list every year in December, as this season prompts so many memories of joys and sorrows. Affection for all the perfectly imperfect people who have been part of my life and a humble affection for my own humanity too. We are all in this together, so let’s make the most of it.

May you create moments of enjoyment, and experience affection every single ordinary day.

“I don’t think I’ll last forever,” said Peach.

“That’s okay,” said Blue. “Not many folks do.

But until then, you have me, and I have you.”

-Peach and Blue, by Sarah S. Kilborne, 1994

Notes

Note 1:) It is true that there are many things wrong in the world but there is a whole lot going right. To experience more of the latter, take a news fast, and walk around your neighbourhood instead and nod and smile at the people you meet.  It shows, even with a mask.

Note 2:) One activity you can safely do during Covid is take a drive through your town or city admiring all the lights people have put up to brighten the darkest night.

Note 3:) Thank you for reading my blog each week. I appreciate your notes and encouraging words. Please take care and stay safe. Reach out to friends and family and find ways to celebrate at a distance. See you next week. Warmest wishes, Trudy

5 replies
  1. Judy Bernstein
    Judy Bernstein says:

    As always, this comes at the perfect time. It’s always good to be reminded that none of us are perfect or are a perfect fit, affection does not require perfection. Thanks for the reminder, Trudy

    Reply
  2. Teresia
    Teresia says:

    Thank you Trudy, a wonderful reminder.

    I particularly like this line “Life is not about ensuring that everything is designed perfectly just for me, or you, or the next person, all the time.”

    Wishing you a wonderful holiday season xo.

    Reply
  3. Carol Ingells
    Carol Ingells says:

    Thank you for this, Trudy, especially the C. S. Lewis quote. When a friend of mine gets irritated with her husband (or someone else close to her) she says to herself, “________is a good person and he/she’s doing the best he/she can.” That has helped me a lot, when my feelings of affection have been strained. Norris died 15 years ago this month. I had/have great affection for that quirky lovely man.

    Reply
  4. Margaret
    Margaret says:

    Trudy, just lovely. It made me smile thinking about all of the “perfectly imperfect” human beings for whom I have such deep affection.

    Reply

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