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What is Love?

Photo credit: WolfS♡ul via Photopin, CC

What Is Love?
It costs nothing, but creates much.
It enriches those who receive, without impoverishing those who give.
It happens in a flash and the memory of it sometimes lasts forever.

In the city of Philadelphia there was a little third class hotel. Into it one night there came two tired elderly people. They went up to the night clerk and the husband pleadingly said, “Mister, please don’t tell us you don’t have a room. My wife and I have been all over the city looking for a place to stay. We did not know about the big conventions that are here. The hotels at which we usually stay are all full. We’re dead tired and it’s after midnight. Please don’t tell us you don’t have a place where we can sleep.”

The clerk looked at them a long moment and then answered, “Well, I don’t have a single room except my own. I work at night and sleep in the daytime. It’s not as nice as the other rooms, but it’s clean, and I’ll be happy for you to be my guests for tonight.”

The wife said, “God bless you, young man.”

The next morning at the breakfast table, the couple sent the waiter to tell the night clerk they wanted to see him on very important business. The night clerk went in, recognized the two people, sat down at the table and said he hoped they had had a good night’s sleep. They thanked him most sincerely. Then the husband astounded the clerk with this statement, “You are too fine a hotel man to stay in a hotel like this. How would you like for me to build a big, beautiful, luxurious hotel in the city of New York and make you general manager?”

The clerk didn’t know what to say. He thought there might be something wrong with their minds. He finally stammered, “It sounds wonderful.”

His guest then introduced himself. “I’m John Jacob Astor.” So, the Waldorf Astoria Hotel was built, and the night clerk became, in the years to follow, the best known hotel man in the world.

In 1976, the 47-story Waldorf-Astoria in New York City served three-quarters of a million guests in its 1,900 rooms.

 *

A Yale University president gave this advice to a former president of Ohio State: “Always be kind to your A and B students. Someday one of them will return to campus as a good professor. And also be kind to your C students. Someday one of them will return and build you a two-million dollar science laboratory.”

 *

Years ago a teacher in Detroit asked Stevie Morris to help her find a mouse that was lost in the classroom. You see, she appreciated the fact that nature had given Stevie something no one else in the room had. Nature had given Stevie a remarkable pair of ears to compensate for his blind eyes. But this was really the first time Stevie had been shown appreciation for those talented ears. Now, years later, he says that this act of appreciation was the beginning of a new life. You see, from that time on he developed his gift of hearing and went on to become, under the stage name of Stevie Wonder, one of the great pop singers and songwriters of the seventies.

 *

What Is Love?

It costs nothing, but creates much.
It enriches those who receive, without impoverishing those who give.
It happens in a flash and the memory of it sometimes lasts forever.
None are so rich they can get along without it, and none so poor but are richer for its benefits.
It creates happiness in the home, fosters good will in a business, and is the countersign of friends.
It is rest to the weary, daylight to the discouraged, sunshine to the sad, and Nature’s best antidote for trouble.
Yet it cannot be bought, begged, borrowed, or stolen, for it is something that is no earthly good to anybody till it is given away.
And if someone should be too tired to give you a smile, may we ask you to leave one of yours?
For nobody needs a smile so much as those who have none left to give!

  *

“It was Thanksgiving Day and I was ten years old. I was in a welfare ward of a city hospital and was scheduled to undergo major orthopedic surgery the next day. I knew that I could only look forward to months of confinement, convalescence and pain. My father was dead; my mother and I lived alone in a small apartment and we were on welfare. My mother was unable to visit me that day.

“As the day went on, I became overwhelmed with the feeling of loneliness, despair and fear. I knew my mother was home alone worrying about me, not having anyone to be with, not having anyone to eat with and not even having enough money to afford a Thanksgiving Day dinner.

“The tears welled up in my eyes, and I stuck my head under the pillow and pulled the covers over it. I cried silently, but oh so bitterly, so much that my body racked with pain.

“A young student nurse heard my sobbing and came over to me. She took the covers off my face and started wiping my tears. She told me how lonely she was, having to work that day and not being able to be with her family. She asked me whether I would have dinner with her. She brought two trays of food: sliced turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and ice cream for dessert. She talked to me and tried to calm my fears. Even though she was scheduled to go off duty at 4 P.M., she stayed on her own time until almost 11 P.M. She played games with me, talked to me and stayed with me until I finally fell asleep.

“Many Thanksgivings have come and gone since I was ten, but one never passes without me remembering that particular one and my feelings of frustration, fear, loneliness and the warmth and tenderness of the stranger that somehow made it all bearable.”

*

A smile of encouragement at the right moment may act like sunlight on a closed-up flower–it may be the turning point for a struggling life.

Photo credit: WolfS♡ul via Photopin, CC

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