Category Archives: Love

Remembering Dad

June 12, 2006

Jane Jimenez

Jane Jimenez

My father has been gone for over ten years.  It seems like yesterday…I miss him still.

He was a father from the “old school,” an outdoorsman who took me out one freezing morning on a duck hunting trip.  At twelve years of age, I felt honored that he trusted me enough to know I would be quiet and still along the river bank.

As Father’s Day nears, memories build of little things with big consequences.  Daddy loved order and strategy.  An electrical engineer, he had a system for ordering 1000 pieces by their bumps and slots, an assembly-line method for putting puzzles together.  Today, my color coded filing system owes everything to Dad.

Perfectionists to a fault, both of us, we had our fair share of rows.  Particularly vivid is one battle where we locked in an argument over how to slice Mother’s homemade bread without leaving any breadcrumbs on the wooden board.  The battle turned into a war, complete with slamming doors and morning apologies.  Funny, today…fiercely serious, back then.

Poor Daddy.  He often joked about being the only man in the house surrounded by women.  When my mother took a college class on semantics and discovered an additional set of connotations and denotations for every word in the English language, she tripled the words at her disposal for overwhelming him in conversation.  It was the ultimate Mars/Venus communication gap before John Gray was around to explain it.

Remembering Dad, I wish every kid had a father close at hand to create good memories.

Today, statisticians are explaining why we need fathers.  The value of dads is computed in statistics of crime, risky adolescent behaviors, and economic well-being.  Researchers are trying to appeal to our logic, arguing that families benefit from fathers…dads.

Why?  What do numbers have to do with explaining the longing of the human spirit?  The value of my dad is more personal than that, impossible to quantify as a statistic.

  • Today psychologists and educators create classroom lessons teaching children how to be nice to each other.  They are working to teach the very things my father taught me in the everyday details of living together as family for over twenty years.
  • Therapists help women develop self-confidence in their abilities to problem-solve and be self-reliant.  I learned this from a father who let me watch and help him fix my sewing machine.
  • Spiritual leaders preach forgiveness.  I learned this from a father who knocked quietly on my bedroom door and entered to tell me he was sorry.  He wanted to show me his technique for slicing bread without crumbs…but it wasn’t worth fighting.  And we forgave each other.
  • Special funding for special programs is directed to the promotion of careers in science for women.  My father showed me how to shape a wooden peg on the lathe, he taught me his system for tracking the prices of stocks and bonds, and he let me show him what I learned in an auto mechanics class…how to change the rotor and adjust the timing on my VW bug.
  • Self-help gurus write books and appear on Dr. Phil, preaching the techniques for building healthy marriages.  I saw this in the daily highs and lows of married life between my parents where words spoken in anger were covered over with apologies, forgiveness, and tenderness.

If I have had any success in being a parent, I can look to my dad and the sacrifices he made to be a husband and father.  When family life is tough, I hang in there because my Dad gave me a vision of tenacity and hope.  When I look for strength inside, I find it because my father put it there through his affirmation of me as his daughter…worthy, capable, and loved.

Dad’s encouragement…his example…his love can never be replicated by social programs and tax dollars.  No number of psychologists, teachers, or federally funded initiatives would ever have filled the shoes of the man who loved my mother and spent a lifetime building a picture of that love in the daily details of life.

I need no research to prove the value of fathers for raising daughters and sons.  The proof is written on my heart. It is honored in passing on the gift of marriage to our own children.

He’s been gone all these many years.  But he’s never left me.  My Dad.

Happy Father’s Day!


June 13, 2005 – A Recipe for Families

June 18, 2004  – Me Jane, You Tarzan

October 22, 2004  – Bringing Poppa Home

 See Archives for past editorials.


May 1, 2006

Jane Jimenez

Jane Jimenez

They offer advice to people in pain.  On the surface, their advice sounds forward-looking, pragmatic, and helpful:  Get On With Your Live…GOWYL.

Psychologists and counselors are dealing with a problem that many in America consider inevitable…divorce.  “We think of a marriage as a crap shoot, with worse than 50-50 odds of finding and marrying ‘the right person,’” writes Diane Sollee of Smart Marriages.  “If we marry ‘the wrong person’, we want the right to exit and try again.”  GOWYL.

It’s hard to imagine a family that hasn’t been touched by divorce today.  The method preferred by social scientists in determining the divorce rate is to calculate how many people who have ever married subsequently divorced. Counted that way, the rate has never exceeded about 41 percent, researchers say.  Rising radically in the 1960s, since the 1970s, the rate has steadily been inching downward.

Still, even as divorce rates decline, the number of lives impacted is staggering.  In 2003, based on the 45 reporting states (excluding CA, HI, IN, LA, OK), 920,060 marriages were dissolved.  Over 1.8 million men and women will have to GOWYL.

Richard Cohen, Washington Post critic-at-large, speaks for the frustrated majority.  Conceding the damage divorce does to children, he demands that those who preach family values finally come clean and admit there are no solutions.  GOWYL.

As Cohen, and so many see it, we are stuck.  There is no way out.  Without divorce, we are asking people to choose between their own happiness and the happiness and well-being of their children.

”[As] much as we hate the fallout, we’ve become convinced that divorce is inevitable — one of life’s necessary evils,” says Sollee.  “This is due to our attitudes about marriage. And, we want to preserve this right for our fellow citizens. No one, we have come to believe, should have to live in an unhappy marriage.”

Stuck in the negative, and pushed to accept the inevitable, America has developed an extensive support system designed to make divorce easier and happier.  Divorces are no-fault.  Property is divided.  Child support payments are calculated, if not paid.  And life goes on.  Make the best of it.  GOWYL

But wait.  Yes, wait!

We have been encouraged to accept failure as a way of life.  And we have created several divorce industries…lawyers and counselors…generating millions of dollars for people who profit from the failure of others.  It doesn’t have to be that way.  Failure is not inevitable.

As it turns out, we don’t have to choose to be miserable in marriage to make our children happy.  The real data on happy and unhappy marriages tells a very different story.

When you look at a nationally representative sample of married people who say they are “very unhappy” in their marriages, and follow them over time, 60 percent of those who stick it out (about 15 percent do not) say they are “quite happy” or “very happy” in their marriages five years later. Another 25 percent of couples report improvement in their marital happiness.

These couples did GOWYL.  But they did it by staying married.  They were once unhappy.  And, without the help and assistance of divorce attorneys and counselors paving the way, sticking with their marriages, they were able to create a happy marriage once again…not just for the sake of their kids, but for the sake of themselves.

That’s right.  Unhappy couples aren’t doomed to a life of personal misery in their stoic, chin-up choice to stay together for the kids’ sake.   They can actually recover, restore and reconnect.

If these couples can do it, why can’t other couples do it?  And if they can do it, then how?

As sociologists and politicians since the 60s worked to normalize and even elevate the deconstruction of the traditional family, these questions were considered regressive.  Divorce was the solution.  Marriage was the problem.

Today, as we measure the pain and cost of divorce, these questions offer a long-overdue hope to people everywhere.  They create a new focus for GOWYL.  Marriage is the solution.  Divorce is the problem.

Life is more than just matter of getting on with it.  It’s a matter of where we are getting on to and what life will be when we get there.  If you’re headed toward a solution, a happy marriage is still a wonderful destination.



September 24, 2004 –  End of Life as a Fairly Normal Person

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He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not

April 24, 2006

Jane Jimenez

Jane Jimenez

Once upon a time, if you wanted to know if he loved you, it was a simple matter of asking a daisy flower.  Pluck a petal, he loves me.  Pluck another, he loves me not. Plucking petal after petal, down to the center of the daisy, love, not, love, not, love…He loves me!  Or, depending on the daisy, He loves me not!

Once upon a time, it used to matter if he loved me or love me not.  Love was the point.  We were looking for love, and we weren’t shy about it.  Lucy loved Desi.  Mr. Cleaver loved Mrs. Cleaver.  And the Beatles celebrated She Loves You…Yeah, Yeah, Yeah…Yeah!

From the simple to the complex, the measure of love was always the measure of value rising from human activity.  On the personal level, love was sanctified in marriage.  On the social level, love was the source of power for great movements.

One can’t imagine Martin Luther King, Jr.’s, leadership of the civil rights movement without acknowledging its foundation of love.  Writing from a jail in Birmingham, he worked to explain his passion for opposing segregation.  Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere, King wrote. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.

King led demonstrations against segregation.  But he did so in love.  He never aimed to replace one system of injustice with another.  Standing on love, he exemplified his dream.

It is no mistake that King founded his social movement on non-violence.  Wife Coretta Scott King explained that the central element of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s philosophy of nonviolence emanated from “his belief in a divine loving presence that binds all life.  This belief was the force behind all of my husband’s quests to eliminate social evil….”

Love, for King, was the fountain from which flowed justice, dignity, and dreams.  And as co-pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, King’s writings always turned to the One who epitomized ultimate love.

Christ, in one of his last moments as teacher to his disciples, expressed everything we can say about love, humility and sacrifice with one towel and a bowl of water.  “Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love….he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.” [John 13:1,4-5  NIV]

In the habit of explaining great truths in parables, Jesus created a living parable of sacrificial love, love that grows from humility, a love demonstration of the Golden Rule.  And just to make sure the disciples would clearly receive his teaching, he told them, “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.”  [John 13:14-16 NIV]

He loves me…a humble sacrifice done in love because you love me as you love yourself.  He loves me not…anything less.

A consideration of the fullest expression of human love shines a bright light on the culture of sex in America today.  It helps explain why foes of abstinence education fight with such furor and hostility against those who would raise sexual abstinence until marriage as a noble and expected standard of sexual behavior for young people.

This fight against abstinence education is, at its most fundamental level, an expression of an attempt to keep sex from being subordinated as a function of sacrificial love.  The fight against abstinence education is a struggle to maintain sex as an isolated function of two physical bodies, each seeking personal physical pleasure at the expense of what might be done to the other body.

Abstinence education restores the importance of love, humility and sacrifice as part of the sexual act.  It inspires students to value their sexuality as one dimension of their capacity to be loved and to give love.  This is a much bigger focus for sex than what has been promoted since birth control elevated Hugh Hefner as the cultural icon of human sex.  And it can’t be tolerated by those who pay homage to Hefner.

The sexual revolution was less about birth control than it was about divorcing us from the responsibility for the welfare of other human beings.  We were given permission to use others to gratify our physical sexual urges and ignore the consequences of loveless sex as collateral damage.  Babies in utero were redefined as tissue.  STDs were redefined as treatable illnesses.  And heartbreak was defined as a religious value.

He loves me.  My total welfare, economic, physical, social, emotional, relational, and spiritual is of greater importance to him than any physical shiver of sexual pleasure.

Anything less than that?  He loves me not.


New International Version (NIV), Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society.  Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

October 24, 2005 –  TEENS AND SEX: How Many? So What?

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Lower than the Dust

April 17, 2006

Jane Jimenez

Jane Jimenez

She often spent her days laying on the floor.  And because it was a home for the mentally disturbed, they let her.

Life at ground level looks different, a world of ankles of infinite varieties, delicate and sexy, sturdy and stout.  White shoes, all the same by institutional standards, are all different when one spends enough time watching them pass at eye level, down on the floor.

Size five and a half passes, clean white laces tied into perky even bows, and without even looking up to her face, I can know it’s my favorite nurse.  Size twelve, white turned tan, flecked with black and brown streaks, and I know it’s the custodian who cannot help but splash brown water against his shoes as he mops and cleans each day.

Life retains its magic and complexity, even when viewed from the floor.  Table legs, metal and wood, with caps at the base to protect the shine of institutional wax.  All legs have caps, but not all are the same.  Table legs setting on metal caps or housed in plastic shoes.  Chair legs with felt pads that slide when you push out from the table.  Some caps roll, wheels, rubber and quiet, one inch wheels that rotate as the cart is turned or five inch wheels fixed by a bracket to always go straight.

None of this matters, unless you live on the floor at ground level.  But not many of us try it.   Living there day after day for years simply because you want to live there is enough to classify you as mentally disturbed.  You are put away, assigned a room, given a diagnosis and proscribed a treatment.

This is the world where Morrie Schwartz once found himself, one of a staff of professionals assigned to help people like the woman living on the floor.  Because this was an institution where people were expected to be mentally disturbed, their daily routine had expanded to include walking around the woman down below.

But because this was also an institution dedicated to helping, the professionals persisted in trying to reach her.  People with black leather shoes continued to coax the woman off the floor, and when this failed, they pulled chairs close enough to her to talk.  Using the professional insights of college PhDs, they did their best to reach this woman down under.  But whatever the progress, it never was enough to bring her up from the floor into a chair next to them.

Morrie Schwartz, in this world for a short time, studied the situation with interest.  It appeared that every PhD solution had been tried.  But Morrie had a wisdom not handed out with diplomas.

One day, breaking the barrier between the world up above and the world down below, Morrie approached the woman laying on the floor.  He bent, he lowered, and finally he laid himself down on the floor, meeting the woman there in her own world.

It is a touching moment in Tuesdays with Morrie…Morrie laying on the floor of the asylum in order to speak with a crazy person.  Sacrificing his professional stature, laying on the floor and accepting her world, it is enough to help us understand the heart of a human being who has found it difficult to deal with the world up there.  Laying on the floor is the only way to tell a human heart I understand how you feel.  It is the only way to create a door into the upper world for the woman to enter.

Humility allows us to look into the eyes of another human being as equals.  It gives away a part of our ego to another, raising us both together to a level we could never have achieved alone.

It is no surprise that as Morrie took time to enter her world, the woman on the floor found reason to enter his.  Over time, gaining stature and confidence from the man who had the confidence to give away his own, she rose from the floor, choosing chairs more often than not, having finally found a reason to make life “up there” matter.

It is no surprise, then, to find humility at the center of eternal wisdom for living a perfect life.

When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.  [Prov 11:2 NIV]

It is the foundation on which the Golden Rule rests, do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  Without humility, this is impossible.

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.  [James 3:13 NIV]

As we seek ways to mend hearts and restore love, our solutions will not come from higher institutions.  Nor will advanced research perfect our techniques for creating love.  Love grows from the ground up, only when we are willing to set the seeds for love by setting ourselves lower than dust.


I believe that the first test of a truly great man is his humility. I don’t mean by humility, doubt of his power. But really great men have a curious feeling that the greatness is not of them, but through them. And they see something divine in every other man and are endlessly, foolishly, incredibly merciful.  John Ruskin (1819-1900)


New International Version (NIV), Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society.  Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

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Still Golden After All These Years

April 10, 2006

 Do unto others…unto others?  Is it a poem?  Shakespeare?

Jane Jimenez

Jane Jimenez

I shudder with a mixture of dread and curiosity every time Jay takes to the street with his camera crew and a microphone in hand.  In a regular feature Jaywalking, Leno approaches people on a Hollywood street to survey their knowledge on current news or a particular topic.

One night it’s history.  Leno asks passersby how many judges there are on the Supreme Court.  A young man laughs, shrugs his shoulders and tosses a number in the air.  Thirty six?  Leno laughs, too.  So, he asks, did you go to college?  Yeah, the man replies.  I graduated last year.

The Golden Rule?  It’s a mathematical formula, isn’t it?

In a variation on his regular theme, Leno one night lets people choose their questions from either a 4th, 6th, or 8th grade text.  Jen, a registered dental assistant, says the Grand Canyon is 3200 miles long, and an Alabama State student says Columbus discovered America in 1842.  What country did we fight in the Revolutionary War, Jay asks Selena.  Oh, my gosh.  I don’t know this stuff, she admits.  I really don’t know this stuff.  Keeping a straight face, Leno tells her, I believe you.

Another night, and another question…laughter gives way to sadness as we witness the current state of affairs in modern American life.  What is the Golden Rule, Jay asks.  One after another, each person stares at him with a blank face.  You know, he persists.  The Golden Rule…do unto others…?  That’s enough to get them started.

The Golden Rule?  Do unto others…before they do it to you.  Yeah, that’s it.

The ethic of reciprocity is a general moral principle found in virtually all religions, often as a fundamental rule. It is most commonly heard as “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  This traditional rule is so highly valued that it has been known in English for centuries as the “Golden Rule”.

How did we manage in America to loose sight of the Golden Rule?  Why is it impossible for these regular people to immediately recite the simple statement for Jay?  How can we possibly teach our children new attitudes of respect and love when we have lost sight of a common cultural law as basic as the Golden Rule?

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. [Mat 7:12 NIV]  A nation that does not have this law written on its heart is a nation that has forgotten how to love.

As I would have them do unto me?  Would I have them yell at me and trash me with vulgarity and accusations on Jerry Springer’s show?  Certainly not.

Would I have a dear family member meet me center stage on a national television talk show to reveal a devastating “secret,” entertaining the world at the expense of my humiliation?  Of course, I wouldn’t.

What part of letting my friends get drunk on Spring Break is a measure of my love for them?  Not one bit of it.

Restoring a healthy expression of love to our nation is as simple as remembering one rule, golden in value:

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” [Mat 22:36-40 NIV]

As we take up the great commandment and make it the watchword for our life, it is exceedingly clear how much of modern life encourages us to focus on what is good for ourselves regardless of how it impacts others.

The Golden Rule is the narrow path.  It is the touchstone, the measuring stick, the weight and measure for all we say, do and think.  It is not merely a “good idea.”  It is the law.  It is a commandment.  It is the sight we must fix our eyes upon, the bandage for our spirit, and the balm for a hurting world.

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.


New International Version (NIV), Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society.  Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.


 November 12, 2004 – Old as the Hills

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