This is what love looks like: A tribute to Ghislain Authier
Love isn’t just a feeling. Love is selfless action for others. I wrote this in another one of my blogs a few years ago when I asked the question, “What does love look like?”
I’ve seen love during the course of my fifty-nine years, and it always seems to involve giving of oneself for another. I’m not talking about the warm and fuzzy feeling we can have for another person we’re attracted too, which is also a good thing. I’m talking about love that is rooted in the understanding that love doesn’t exist outside of sacrifice. If we’re not willing to put the needs of another person ahead of our own, what we have is not real love—it’s much less.
It doesn’t matter if it’s love between two people who are attracted to each other, and perhaps involved in a relationship, or if it’s the love between a parent and a child, a grandchild and a grandparent, between two friends, a more general love between a person and humanity, or even the love between a person and God, love requires a willingness to do something for another without any expectation of anything in return—it’s selfless.
Ghislain Authier, my uncle, understood what love was.
He was relentless in giving of himself for others. Not just once in a while, but consistently. To do that year after year, after year, demonstrates his understanding of what it means to love another person.
I know that his wife, Gilberte, knows this to be true about him. She knows how dedicated he was to his family, to his extended family, to his friends, and to God and His church.
He took the time to give of himself to help others. He’d travel to whatever town his girls lived in to help them, whether it was doing some painting or caring for them or their children when they were sick, he was there. He took the time. Love is about giving time. He did that.
He took the time to make people feel special. As his nephew I’ve been on the receiving end of his love for decades. He’d phone every year on my birthday, and other times as well, as I know he did for many of his other nieces and nephews. I suspect he did it for other family members too, his brothers and sisters, their spouses, people he loved—which was just about everyone.
Some people have a limited capacity to love others. I’m sure he had a limit too, but his limit exceeded most of our ability to love. His capacity seemed boundless. I suspect his faith had a lot to do with it. His commitment to his church was a great example for all of us to take note of.
His love for his children and grandchildren has always been something I admired. I’ve tried to model it in my life. His example to us all is his legacy.
I don’t doubt for one moment where he’s spending eternity. I know he’s with God. But for us who are left behind it’s comforting to know that he’s left us all this legacy of love.
We can look at his life and see a clear example of what love is. We can only hope to be able to do the same.
M’Oncle Ghislain, I love you dearly. I will always aspire to love as you did, to understand that love is an action. Thank you for what you’ve modeled for us.
We love you.
Life is filled with choices. I pray we all take action to fill them with love like Ghislain Authier did.