Where I work there is the call to attend to Vanier’s primal cry….”do you love me?”
The cry for love is the most basic instinct we have. And for those of us who have sought to ignore making the cry ourselves, seeking to answer that cry is life’s greatest joy as well as sorrow. It is hard to hear “the world’s saddest sound” knowing the cry could be your own. But to answer it is unconquerable joy.
Once a month I instruct new employees on their roles of providing care in the vocational setting for those we serve where I work. Sometimes when I have the time, I tell them to have good supports in life and if they don’t have them to find them. I tell these new employees they cannot waste their time with the cruel and those who see no value to life, for they do you no good. Rather surround yourself with those of strength and boldness. You have to answer the primal cry, not to cry it yourself.
But we do make such a cry. Too many come to the place where the cry is left unanswered and this is unfortunate. I cannot imagine how much more we could give the world if more people could say I am loved and I love you, but who is to blame for the matter. To love and be loved requires considerable courage. The truth is one cannot be blamed for the lack of love for it is their weakness rather than their lack of desire to do this that is at play.
Love is hard and it is the act of the courageous. Because it is hard, it is ignored even though it is a gift that would be afforded to all if they took up the courage to make it happen, but we ignore that call. It is easier that way. Who can blame us? Why admit the meaning of another when it means we will have to be courageous? Yes it is easier not to do this thing, even though every part of us wants to. How seldom do we listen to the voice within us.
This is why I loved my work with those who have cognitive disabilities. They refuse to ignore the cry and they refuse to have no answer for it. And in this refusal, they bring all of us to that better place. They bring us to the earnest cry for love even as they refuse to live in a world without an answer to that cry, no matter how often the world refuses an answer. In this they are more gifted than any of us for here is their courage and our ineptitude.
We could learn from their example. Too many, who have all those supposed faculties to make the best of life, cannot even begin to seek love or answer its cry. How much better the world would be if they could. After all it should be a rather easy matter to love and be loved, but I guess this is more the gift of some than others . I am glad I have met these even if now I must more often be in their absence.