Wednesday, February 13, 2013

I Believe in Love, Peanut Butter and Jelly

By Minolta Araya
     I believe in love as the driving force of our universe and the motivation of man. All issues in this world, war and peace, should be viewed through a lens of love; a man will fight for his country and die for his family, all in the name of love. Love is the energy that gets us out of bed in the morning and our invisible comfort at night. Though it is intangible, can’t be measured or seen, it is still very real.
     When I was a young girl of about 20 years old, I traveled a great deal around this country in search of what I thought would bring me happiness. One spring I journeyed to California, where I
spent a day in Venice Beach. I was bombarded with various attractions.  Live street music and art brought to life a setting comparable to a vibrant beach carnival. In the midst of all the vivid life surrounding me, I saw a young man sitting in front of a store shop with a cup collecting change. His face was dirty and rugged, hardened by life and sadness, but in his eyes you could tell he was still quite young, maybe even younger than me. I offered him but a simple smile in passing as I began my day in search of adventure -- after all I was young with no money to spare. How could I possibly help him?

     The sun was setting on Venice Beach; I decided to find some reasonably cheap food and then head back to my hotel. I again passed the man, his cup barely half-full with the night bringing its chill. He was wrapped in a holey sweater, with the same youthful sadness in his eyes but this time he offered me a smile. I thought how much courage it must take to smile in such desolate times!
     Still in search of affordable food I stopped in a small bodega, I purchased a loaf of bread, a jar of peanut butter, a jar of jelly and paper plates all for less than ten dollars. I then sat on a bench
preparing as many PB&J sandwiches as bread would allow, stacking them on each plate. Finally, I made a sign on a plate that read “Free PB&J Sandwich, for anyone who is hungry.” I made a personal delivery to my brother sitting alone, cold and hungry on the street. Tears welled in his eyes when he sincerely thanked me, but I did not do this for his gratitude. I made those sandwiches for love –a love for my fellow man.
     I wanted my brother, who never shared his name to know that yes things are bad in this world, terrible but there is still good, there is still hope and there is always love. I believe the biggest sin
of man is apathy. In order to truly perceive the world around us through a loving lens, we must view each man as our brother; it should hurt every man to see his brother suffer. Human compassion, a unique attribute of love, is responsible for the interconnectedness of our world. As I rode the bus back to my hotel from Venice Beach, eating my PB& J, I looked out from the window to see all but one sandwich was gone.
     I have since committed myself to doing at least one act of love each day. It can be something big like volunteering to prepare meals for the homeless or even something small like letting
someone with fewer items pass me in line. Though simple acts of love and kindness may not bring an end to human suffering, they can certainly start us on the right path.  I believe love is the driving force of our universe and the motivation of man; I believe in love.


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