A saint asked his disciples, ‘Why do we shout in anger? Why do people shout at each other when they are upset?’

Disciples thought for a while, one of them said, ‘Because we lose our calm, we shout for that.’ ‘But why to shout when the other person is just next to you?’ asked the saint. ‘Isn’t it possible to speak to him or her with a soft voice? Why do you shout at a person when you’re angry?’

Disciples gave some other answers but none satisfied the saint. Finally he explained, ‘When two people are angry at each other, their hearts distance a lot. To cover that distance they must shout to be able to hear each other. The angrier they are, the stronger they will have to shout to hear each other through that great distance.’

Then the saint asked, ‘What happens when two people begin to love each other? They don’t shout at each other but talk softly, why? Because their hearts are very close. The distance between them is very small…’ The saint continued, ‘When they love each other even more, what happens? They do not speak, only whisper and they get even closer to each other in their love. Finally they even need not whisper, they only look at each other and that’s all. That is how close two people are when they love each other.’

It was busy morning, about 8:30, when an elderly gentleman in his 80’s, arrived to have stitches removed from his thumb.

He said he was in a hurry as he had an appointment at 9:00 am.

I took his vital signs and had him take a seat, knowing it would be over an hour before someone would be able to see him.

I saw him looking at his watch, and decided, since I was not busy with another patient, I would evaluate his wound.

On exam, it was well healed, so I talked to one of the doctors, got the needed supplies to remove his sutures and redress his wound.

While taking care of his wound, I asked him if he had another doctor’s appointment this morning, as he was in such a hurry.

The gentleman told me no, that he needed to go to the nursing home to eat breakfast with his wife.

I inquired as to her health; he told me that she had been there for a while and that she was a victim of Alzheimer’s Disease.

As we talked, I asked if she would be upset if he was a bit late.

He replied that she no longer knew who he was, that she had not recognized him in five years now.

I was surprised, and asked him, ‘And you still go every morning, even though she doesn’t know who you are?’

He smiled as he patted my hand and said, ‘She doesn’t know me, but I still know who she is.’

I had to hold back tears as he left; I had goose bumps on my arm, and thought, ‘That is the kind of love I want in my life.’

True love is neither physical, nor romantic.  True love is an acceptance of all that is, has been, will be, and will not be.