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  • I will have to stand with Burt on this one – stand on the side of love. I have personally witnessed it’s powerful healing qualities, both on my life, and on the lives of those I love. When nothing else is possible, when everything else has been tried, try love. It works.

    You’ve all heard my many tales about how messed up I was when I was younger, and how I managed to find my way to recovery and how my life turned around. I will say that, above everything else, ‘tis love that got me here. Love from those with the capacity for it, long before I developed that capacity.

    My parents took a trip to Europe, where they visited many of the great cathedrals. In each and every one, they lit a candle for their lost son. This was about a year before he was “found”, before he found recovery. It wasn’t the candles that brought me home. It was the love that lit those candles. Powerful stuff, love.

    The wedding I attended this past weekend. Wow! So beautiful. This was not just any wedding, mind you. Here was my brother who we’d all thought was long lost in a hopeless, loveless, dysfunctional marriage. He was so devoted, but she was so “taking” – just took from him, and kept taking, and before we knew it, we couldn’t find Jim. His kids couldn’t find him. She’d taken him from us. From him.

    Then he emerged. Came back to life. Seemed like a miracle. Watching him come back was quite amazing. The old humor was there. His kids became a part of his life again. There was so much love involved. You talk about resurrection. I have seen it. Watching this beautiful man rediscover life was one of the more remarkable things I have witnessed in my life.

    And then, the serendipity of finding Dorothy. These two spent their entire lives just waiting for the moment they met each other. Here is one of the great love stories I’ve known in my life. To be there, to be a witness to their holy union, was SUCH an honor. Wow. The whole weekend was about love. The power of it.

    During the reception, Best Man Dick “Bridgeman” Kilburg, doing the honors for the third time (“get it right this time, Dick!”). Dick was sitting at our table. Jim came by to remind him that he would need to do a toast during the reception. “Yeah, I’ve done this before, you know. But thanks for the heads-up – the first time, you gave me about two minutes!”

    Dick was clearly working on it. He’d been down this road before. He told some stories, then nailed it with saying how Jim had often asked him if he would ever be lovable? This world-class mind – he truly is one of the really bright lights of his generation – didn’t know if he had the capacity for receiving love.

    Until he met Dorothy. Dick ended by bringing Dad into the festivities. How pleased he would be this day. This made me think of the song. THE SONG. The family song. The one that has meant so much, to so many, at so many such occasions. But, could we carry it off, without the “Leader of the Band” to lead us?

    Ken was reluctant at first, but some gentle persuasion, and Mary to do the opening intro and get us all going, brought the song of my family booming to the rafters of that great hall, Juli and Ken’s remarkable harmonies rising high above the rest of the voices, meeting perfectly in a crescendo of love, to put a powerful exclamation point of love on the occasion, and imprinted on our memories of this beautiful event, this celebration of love.

    If we only have love
    Then tomorrow will dawn
    And the days of our years
    Will rise on that morn

    If we only have love
    To embrace without fears
    We will kiss with our eyes
    We will sleep without tears

    If we only have love
    With our arms open wide
    Then the young and the old
    Will stand at our side

    If we only have love
    Love that's falling like rain
    Then the parched desert earth
    Will grow green again

    If we only have love
    For the hymn that we shout
    For the song that we sing
    Then we'll have a way out

    If we only have love
    We can reach those in pain
    We can heal all our wounds
    We can use our own names

    If we only have love
    We can melt all the guns
    And then give the new world
    To our daughters and sons

    If we only have love
    Then Jerusalem stands
    And then death has no shadow
    There are no foreign lands

    If we only have love
    We will never bow down
    We'll be tall as the pines
    Neither heroes nor clowns

    If we only have love
    Then we'll only be men
    And we'll drink from the Grail
    To be born once again

    Then with nothing at all
    But the little we are
    We'll have conquered all time
    All space, the sun, and the stars.

    (Song by Jacques Brel, "If We Only Have Love"
    Photo by Courtney Beach)
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