Earlier this week, I was working on the Teaching Tuesday essay and it was about an incident that happened back in middle school.  When you back in time in your mind, sometimes you recall different detail about that time period in your life, such as friends, events and for me, the music.  So I did a search of music of the mid-seventies and started listening as I was writing. The essay was completed and still, I kept listening and that has been my ‘soundtrack’ this week. 

This week’s Teaching Tuesday, here on the website, referred to in this essay.

While listening, several songs I had not heard before came up from Eric Carmen. Not aware of just how much beautiful music he wrote and performed, the listening became more focused on his.  What beautiful melodies, heart felt words and a hind of a sound of classical musical training.  Reading up on Eric’s bio and background and left me with thinking how greatly underrated his talent has been remembered. Just do a search of his music and you will see, or really HEAR what I’m talking about.  He’s still around, in his seventies, still with great hair, not the gorgeous thick dark locks but still nice and you can watch You Tube videos of his performances and interviews. In the listening over the last few days, there was one song in particular that I kept wanting to hear over and over.  No, not “All By

What a talent Eric Carmen has to write lyrics and music that is still listened to all these years later.

Myself” his biggest hit, or “Never Going to Fall in Love Again.”  Or his hit that ended up in the movie, “Dirty Dancing,” “Hungry Eyes”.  It was a song I had not heard before, “Love is All That Matters.”  The intro starts with simple piano, right hand and then the left hand part comes in.  It reminds me of something a parent in the kitchen would hear their child learning on the piano, practiced from the living room.  The words and lyrics together sound like 1970s ballad.  the story tells of a first or very meaningful love, after imaging what it would be to find true love.  Listening to it brought tears to my eyes.  Thinking of someone imaging how finding a true love would feel and once finding it was no disappointed.  This is a romantic love described, and having found that in my life, this song is the sound of that emotion.  Later in the week, I found myself listening to the song while looking through photos on my phone and Christmas cards posted on the side of the fridg in

Think of the people in your life who bring different forms of love that make your life so full. Here are a few of mine ❤️

the kitchen.  Photos of all of those people who mean so much in my life, people I truly do love as friends, family, neighbors, college roommates, longtime family friends, teachers and others who have special meaning in my and our life as a couple and family.  Those thoughts warm my heart and give me an emotional hug to think of those dear people and how they have impacted my time on this planet to date.  Each a different kind of love, as the ancient Greeks so cleverly categorized the different types of love hundreds of years ago.   Over these past few days, the conclusion I have come to, in thinking of my life and the world we all live in, “Love IS all that Matters”… 

“Love is all that matters

Faithful and forever

Keepin' us together

Love is all we need

Prisoner of illusion

Sentence is suspended

Loneliness is ended

Love has set me free”

-a few lyrics from Eric Carmen’s 1976 Ballad “Love is all that Matters”

We look at our world, our country, sometimes even in our own communities and we see so many tough stories, dangerous film footage and tragedies play out in front of our own lives. No matter where we live, we are not immune to the realities of todays news.  Even in our own little town of Grand Blanc, Michigan we are a little more than thirty minutes from the school where the shooting took place at Oxford High School that killed four innocent students who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.  You go to most major cities and crime has changed those historic places so much so that business have moved out.  Look at our country and you see political discourse and a world that is turned upside down where evil was played out and filmed for the world to see, yet millions around the world see it totally different with many around the world either misinformed or misled and support pure evil.  Even some college campuses, once a haven for young adults to explore new ideas, is now a breading ground for hatred and indoctrination of developing minds.  

     The more time that goes by, the more it seems as if the chasm or valley of a gray area gets smaller and that it’s more of black and white, more clearer to see good versus evil.  Whether it is the  government or media, it’s hard to decipher which, seems to want to divide it’s citizens.  However, it seems to me as if the average American is better and smarter than that. The people I seem to know and talk to want good for their fellow citizens, safe communities, a strong economy, consequences for those who break the law and a government that serves the people, realizes that and does not go against law abiding citizens.  They want their children to get a good education that focuses on reading, writing a and arithmetic and not issues best left to be learned in the home.  Most people I know are not concerned with who a person loves but rather subscribes to the philosophy of “Love They Neighbor” regardless of what they believe in and the Golden Rule to “Do unto others as they would have them do unto you.”  When you come right down to it, “Love is all that matters.”  

     Ancient Greeks divided love into 8 different types with, Eros, Philia, Storge, Ludus, Mania, Pragma, Philautia and Agape.  Most people would agree that happiness in one’s life is determined by the love in their life.  The Greeks felt that love was such a large emotion that it was important to understand the different forms of love.  Here they are:  1. Eros, is a romantic love, that could be described as the love one feels when they fall head over heels for someone.  That love can grow into a mature love that endures for a life time, a love that can develop into a life long respectful  love. 2. Philia is a love that develops over a deep long friendship. 3. Storge is the love a parent has for a child or a very close familial friend who has that place due to circumstances when a biological is not around.  This love is connected by longtime memories and life experiences. 4. Ludus is a light hearted love sometimes felt in the early stages of a relationship, an almost giddiness. This too can be the playfulness that can keep a romantic relationship from getting old and too routine. 5. Pragma is endearing love, a love built on a commitment over time.  It is a love not easily found, a love between two people who have given it their all.  Think of a married couple who have been together for decades. 6. Mania is a love that has some imbalance on one or both parties.  This type of love is in no way equal it can be a skewed love. 7. Philautia is the love of self that allows us to care for our needs so that we can survive to care for others, as in, the philosophy of putting the oxygen mask on ourselves before we put it on others, so that we are equipped to care for others. 8. The greatest love is the love that is required of those in a society for it to thrive and succeed. Agape, a universal love that is selfless. Best described as a unselfish concern for the welfare of others. I guess that’s where I draw the line of good and evil.  Those who have a good sense of Agape love are those who have it right.  Here’s where it starts and ends for me and here’s what I mean.  

     We can categorize people by their nationality, religion, political preference or any other preference or description but the question to be asked no matter who they are or what they represent is, “Who are the people who have that sense of unselfish concern for others?  Not a false sense of this hiding behind a concern for others.  Look at the issues of today, those who say they want to fix those problems and carefully ask, “Are the motives genuine and for the good of the people?”  Take any currents.  Start with the border.  Who benefits from no border, the millions risking their lives to make the trip, the dangers on the journey, especially the children, women and other defenseless individuals being used by those in power, like cartels who make those enslaved to them no more than indentured servants.  The countries left with less of a population and people to support an economy and the American citizens who are left to pay for the care and welfare of these people let to freely enter.  Think of the children kicked out of their schools, elderly removed from their places to gather to make room for people who didn’t work or pay into a system or log time contributing either in work or time.  Imagine you have your own business that you started and grew and you have an employee who is stealing from that business either monetarily or stealing supplies out the back door or they are giving aways product or services.  How would YOU feel?  You have worked long hours grown that business and now YOU are being stolen from.  That’s how the American people should feel. Those in power are NOT doing your biding and YOU pay their salary.  They have forgotten who they work for or what their job is. There is right and there is wrong.  Those who work for the American people and choose NOT to work for the American people are wrong. There is absolutely NO gray area there.  Same goes for those who use their position of power to gain from it.  It’s not ok.  Government officials who use their position to bend the law to discriminate against some citizens and likewise bend the law in the opposite to let others by with bad behavior or criminal behavior.  Good or evil?  

     Think of  those who delight in the misfortune of others.  Those who cheer when someone is down. I head of students who attend an Ivy League school in a bar last Friday afternoon when former President Trump was found liable for paying millions of dollars with a questionable decision that was announced on the topic of real estate.  Or consider the recent Fulton, Georgia district attorney, Fani Willis’s wrong doings and those taking delight in the embarrassment of her being caught in a compromising predicament.  Watching recordings of Willis and those associated with her testifying was an embarrassment. As I watched I cringed for her arrogant behavior and the regret she may have for her actions that got her in that situation  down the road.  She is to be pitied for that and one hopes she will have some contrition rather than playing the blame game, regardless of her position.  Is it right to delight in the embarrassment or misfortune of another human being. Good or bad? Good or Evil on these?  

     Think about those who do not treat those they know and those they do not with respect.  Think about the employee who does not give their job their all, or the employee who disrespects their employer by doing a half effort of a job (commonly known in our family as a “half-assed job).  Their employer is paying them to actually DO their job.  That means showing up on time and giving it their best effort. To do anything less is stealing from their employer.  Likewise, the employer who disrespects their employees or who treats them unfairly is wrong as well.  Good or evil?

     The media and those entrusted with reporting the news.  Those who spread misinformation-truths or better neglect stories or news.  They are responsible for reporting the news to the people so that they can decide for themselves who is doing their job and who is not and who they want to vote for to do their bidding on their behalf. Media is not to give their own commentary or attempt to make new or change the story to fit an agenda. Good or Bad?

     The consumer who mistreats those who serve them.  Consider the patron at a restaurant who is rude or overly demanding to a server.  Again, The Golden Rule.  Just because someone is performing a service, doing a job for you DOES NOT allow for them to be disrespected. They are performing a service and should be respected and adequately compensated for that service.  It could be the grocery store checkout clerk, the flight attendant or the guy working the car wash.  Right or Wrong?

      Think about your children.  You are entrusted with them and you are the parent. You are responsible for raising them to be good human beings.  The family is the cornerstone of a civilization.  Parents know what is right for their children.  Kids are given parents to guide and direct them. YOU help prepare them for adulthood, instilling values, a strong work ethic and good judgement.  A parent is responsible for the child/children they bring into the world. The parent who allow their child to break the law, teaches them bad behavior is tolerated and acceptable.  Is that good or bad?

     How about the contractor who give his customer a fair price, both for his customer and himself.  He gives the customer a good product he can stand behind and he get compensated appropriately.  He has a family to support, employees to pay, supplies, taxes, permits, rent, equipment. Etc. 

     Or, the person who mistreats, belittles or uses for their own gains their spouse or significant other is wrong and downright disrespectful. Think about the husband or wife who embarrasses their spouse by making cutting remarks or ‘teasing’ them when the other person is not sharing in the humor (my rule, if everyone in the conversation is not laughing and one person is singled out uncomfortable, it’s not funny).  Think about a man or woman who is not truthful in their emotions or intentions or is using them for what they can get.  Good or bad?

     So much of life actually DOES come down to love and it matters. One who genuinely loves their country whether it is someone in our military and is willing to lay down their life for their countrymen, or a policeman, EMT, police officer or fireman or woman is demonstrating love.  Or consider the patriot, the everyday man woman or child who takes pride in the country that has been good to them, that has allowed them to live the American Dream.  Good or bad?

     Not one of us is perfect, we all fall short here or there, we have our tribulations and bad days. However, aside from those circumstances, can you look carefully at a situation and determine if it’s good or evil?  Sure you can.  I do think that many of us get, understandably so, wrapped in our own lives.  We have families to support and care for, jobs, extended family members who need us,  and other responsibilities that require our emotions and time. There are periods in our lives that all the distractions of the world are merely noise and we try to get through the day and take care of those we love.  This time require our full attention so that we can do our part to bring our communities and our country back to the place we need to be so that as many citizens can feel success and prosperity as possible. 

Yes, Love is All that matters.  We can make life and relationships so difficult and confusing.  How do we behave how do we treat people.  When you lead with love, there are no regrets.  In friendships, personal relationships, business relationships when there is love and respect, the chances of success improve.  We can “him and haw” about this and that, is this the right person, is this right or wrong, but the greatest action of all is love.  Love does conquer all, love cover a myriad of sins.  When it comes down to it, it is those we love who will be the last thought we have of as we are departing this earth.  How we treated them and how they treat us will be the last phot we in our our earthly mind. Love IS all that matters.

The author, Mary Yana BurauMyha