Last week I discussed some more about tears. This week I met Antonio, who is from Hita. Since Hita was the city of the Archpriest of Hita, and he was the author of the Book of Good Love, I mentioned to Antonio that I like his book. Antonio’s response was to recite from memory some of the Book of Good Love. A couple days later a friend and I were guests at Antonio’s house in Hita when I mentioned that the Book of Good Love and Don Quixote both are sources of many proverbs (refranes), which I also like. He proceeded to get out a large book of proverbs, originally published in 1953. He turned it open to a page and the first proverb to catch my eye was: “He who makes you cry, wants to see you laugh.” This was in a section on the punishments of love.
My wife believes that laughs are something you can share with any friend, but tears and true sorrows are something you can only share with the person you love. Likewise, any friend would rather see you laugh, but only your loved one wants to help bury the sorrows. I have said that you can turn Good Love into Better Love by sharing gratitude and encouragement. But another way of developing a Better Love is to share empathy with the one you love, both for the good and happy moments as well as the sad and sorrowful.
Now the idea for this blog originated with the concept of Good Love from the Book of Good Love. Over six hundred years later the experts still can’t agree on what the author meant by the term “Good Love.” I discussed a little about the Book of Good Love on 11/26/10 and shared one of my favorite tales from the book here. The first stanza that Antonio recited to me comes at the beginning of the book and the first two lines sum up to a great extent the content of the book – the author’s unsuccessful attempts with women:
Although I have proven that my natal destiny was this:
to put my efforts into serving the ladies and into nothing else
(i.e., and never to succeed in possessing them);
The third and fourth lines are the parts he recited to me, and are what he would say to a girl on the beach, in his younger days, to start a conversation:
Although one may not taste the pear of the pear tree,
just being in its shade is a pleasure fit for everyone.
This sounds a little bold to me, especially considering he used these lines back around the end of World War II, when a conservative dictator was in power in Spain. It does sound more romantic in Spanish, especially since it rhymes, and Antonio assured me it was always met with both interest and conversation.
The pictures at the top are of a religious medal that is about 500 years old, and a recent photo of the doorway of a church in Madrid with the same symbol, which I discussed back on 1/28/11. The doorway has been defaced with graffiti related to ETA, the Basque separatist group. The letter “S” has a nail going through it and symbolizes the word “slave” because in Spanish the letter S and nail is said “es-clavo” and “esclavo” is the word for slave.
The religious connotation is to be a slave to God, for example. And the Best Love is God’s Love. But we are all slaves to various things, many of them illustrated by what we spend our time, money and interest on. It does not hurt to frequently reflect on just what we are slaves to, and how much of it is selfish in nature. Do I devote sufficient time and thought to my loved ones, or is my slavery out of balance with self-centeredness? What about you – what are you a slave to, and is it in balance?