One of my favorite children’s story is Sam McBratney’s Guess How Much I Love You. It is a poignant dialogue between a mother and child, where the little one asks her mother to show him how much love one can give.
The mother patiently answers her playful son through various examples demonstrating how she loves her more than he does. She ends their day with a very touching metaphor.
“I love you right up to the moon – and back.”
One of the core messages that we share to the young participants of the Ninoy & Cory Aquino Leadership Journey is the invitation to love unconditionally, where we give ourselves to someone or something greater than ourselves. In order to do that, we have to locate in our lives where we experienced that kind of love.
One common experience for most is the love of parents for their children. Look into our past and we realise how they have done so much, even extending themselves and their capabilities just to provide everything & prepare a better future for us. As we come of age, we discover how hard it would take to provide, especially when it has become a routine to ask from them and expect that they will give what we need (and want).
My Mom would always wake up every single day to prepare breakfast and see me off. In my line of work the past few years, I had to take the early morning local flights; thus, I had to leave the house at 2 or 3 am. During these mornings, there she was, awake to see me off.
She came from work the night before and had to prepare for another day at work. Yet, every single day, she would find time to see me leave the house. It is in these small routines that I come to appreciate the capacity of a person to love others more than themselves.
The invitation is to remember these, from the mundane everyday gestures to big momentous life events. It is in these experiences we understand what unconditional love is. It is in these experiences we draw our own capacity to love back – to transcend ourselves and share that immense experience of love.
Then, when the right moment comes for us, it would be our turn to say, “I love you right up to the moon – and back.”
3 August 2013 | Adelaide, South Australia