I grew up with a shallow perception of love. I saw love as a fleeting feeling of attraction, a materialistic concept accompanied by a box of chocolates with a bouquet of flowers. Only now have I come to realize, love is trust. Love is empathy. Love is compassion. There is no possible way to define love, because love is a multi-dimensional concept that is expressed through all five senses.
At Manav Sadhna, Nimo highlighted the importance of performing “small acts with great love”. I had never heard the words “small” and “great” used in the same phrase before, nevertheless connected with each other. In that moment, thoughts inside my head clicked ; in that moment, my mind clicked into alignment with my heart. It felt empowering, as if Nimo had just handed me a torch blazing of inspiration. Yes! I am a human, a human capable of love! As a collective society, we tend to get caught up with limits and excuses, saying “can’t” more than can. However, there is no limit to one’s capacity to love. The smallest of actions can always be completed with the fullest of hearts. In Lilapur, I saw love in one of its purest forms: sacrifice. The junior leaders of the village were being introduced to us one by one, and I began to realize the beauty of love. One boy had given his limited supply of water to his plants during the hottest month of India. Through this seemingly small act of watering his plants, he was displaying an immense depth of love for his garden. Another junior leader had threatened to leave the house, unless his father stopped his tobacco addiction. To most parents, leaving the house is not an act of love. However, this boy’s motives were rooted in his deep love and care for his father’s health and life. After meeting these boys, I realized that love is stronger than I ever imagined.
I know two phrases in Gujarati: “what is your name?” and “my name is…”. Two phrases, eight words--it will never be enough. After exchanging names with Reshmika, a bright-eyed girl from Kalol, I felt a nervous smile pass my face. Okay, what do I do now? Jess, this is what you get for knowing two phrases in Gujarati. I had become so absorbed with the power of language, I was blinded to the endless possiblities of connection through action and touch. Thus, in the dark of the night, hand games are the light. I excitedly began to start a classic clapping game. Clap, high-five, clap, high-five, double high-five. A look of familiarity crossed Reshmika’s face, and she began to sing along to the game. Soon after, we were both singing in laughter, the universal language. Two girls from opposite sides of the world, connected by a series of claps. The art of this connection was pure, simple. Limited language, a hand game, and lots of love. Small acts of great love--it can be anything, from a box of chocolates and a bouquet, to a hand game.