Expressing love and condolence
Love is one of the most powerful human drives, thus many of us spend a major portion of our lives in pursuit of it.
Romeo and Juliet gave their lives for love. In fact, were it not for love, life would be quite a dismal experience. When cavemen felt amorous they grabbed a woman’s long hair and dragged her into a cave.
She pretended it was not of her doing. When she became enamored she reminded him by hitting his head with a stick. He always responded, out of courtesy. The expression of primitive love was straightforward and pure.
The exhibition of love has evolved greatly since the creation of verbal and written language and human literature is filled with love stories. Today, in this age of electronic communications and keen competition, however, youngsters seem to poorly imitate the primitive style. It is too fast and that seems to be the main reason for the high divorce rate.
I write but can’t utter the words related with reproduction such as intimacy, desire, seduction or sexuality. The parents of my grandchildren appear to be the same and I wonder then who is going to teach adolescent children about this shady but very important subject. I am also concerned that American schools teach too much, with explicit illustrations, from the Kinsey Report. So, I bought the book ``How to Write Love Letters.” It was a fine book and I thought this poetical literature should come before Alfred Kinsey’s ``What You Must Know To Be Sexually Literate.”
I left it on the dining table. The younger boy picked it up first, glimpsed at a few pages and dropped it on the table. ``Is this yours, grandpa?” ``Ah…no, I thought you’d like to read it.” ``We don’t write love letters.” ``Oh, then you should learn how to say it.” ``There’s not much talking, we just hold hands.” Hands are more modern than hair and sticks.
Having been hanging around too long, I’m getting more and more chances to attend friends’ funerals and am obliged to say words of condolence or give eulogies. An expression of sympathy to a grieving person is one of the most difficult utterances. It’s a way to express your love one more time for the joy, sorrow, laughter and tears shared with the deceased. It reminds the grieving persons that they are connected with life through supportive relationships.
The expressions in the news photos of former first lady Lee Hee-ho and the new North Korean leader Kim Jong-un showed a keen sincerity and so do the photos of Hyundai Group Chairwoman Hyun Jeong-eun conveying her condolences to the son of the late Kim Jong-il. Hyun, I’m sure, practiced her eulogy as the fate of her Mt. Geumgang investment could depend on her sympathetic words and her demeanor.
On the other hand, Kim III might have felt he was meeting a kind-hearted grandmother when he shook hands with the wife of former President Kim Dae-jung. The 29-year-old seemed to be almost in tears, and as most men his age, he too looked sentimental. Both ladies successfully, it appears, conveyed their empathy.
The young Kim might feel, after repeating some usual brinkmanship, a hint of love for brotherhood as it’d have been kindled by the same Korean ``jeong” (tender sentiment) expressed by the two ladies from the South. Then the young man might abruptly extend his hand to grab the South’s hand, if not hair. He saw his father bear hug the late President Kim. It was an immature and camouflaged love between the politicians.
True love needs to fully mature through people both in the South and the North. It takes time but it will come sooner or later, I’m sure.
The writer is a retired architect-specifications writer, who shuttles back and forth between Seoul and New Jersey. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.