By John Diamond, M.D.
This is a story about Sam and Maria who had been dear friends of mine for many years. Even when I first met them they were obviously having problems with their marriage. The details need not concern us here. Every time I visited them, it seemed that there was more hatred.
On one occasion, we were sitting on their terrace under the big palm tree which sheltered us from the glorious Florida sun. It was a beautiful day and the setting was so serene, but all they could think of was hurting each other.
I had never tried to interfere in their marriage they had never asked me to but this particular day I could no longer bear to stand by. I interrupted them and asked if they would sit opposite each other, and each make just one nice remark about the other. Not even loving, just nice.
But they both confessed that they could not think of anything to say, not one nice word. So I asked each one to say something nice about himself, but again neither of them could think of anything.
I felt so sad. I said, “If only you could love yourselves, if only you could be sure that God The Mother loved you, then there would be no reason for each of you to hate the other.” But Maria did not love herself, and could not love Sam. And it was the same with Sam for the moment.
Later that afternoon, Sam began to play his guitar. It was an old one that they had bought at a garage sale. His playing was very rudimentary, just picking out chords as he struggled through a few simple melodies. Yet regardless of his technique, the love was still coming through. I looked at him and his face was at peace. He knew that he loved himself and that God loved him. I had seen him like this occasionally when the two of us were alone, but never when Maria was there.
Then Maria put him down with, “Your playing’s so sleazy, Sam. Perhaps one day you’ll get a job in a bar. That’s where you belong. You’ve got no class at all.”
If Maria had felt good about herself she would not have had to do that to Sam. I asked her if she had ever played an instrument and she told me that she used to play the recorder but had not done so for a long time. She eventually found her old one in the back of a closet and played a note or two, but no, she was no good, she couldn’t play any more. She put it aside and went back to her criticism of Sam’s playing.
Later, she remarked that her recorder was not a very good one and perhaps that had been the problem. So she bought another one, but still played only a few bars. She seemed to enjoy criticizing Sam’s music more than making any of her own.
There have been many changes since that time. They divorced, but unfortunately Maria changed little, if at all. It became impossible to have any discussion with her about Sam without her pouring out hatred and scorn. But Sam became a very different person.
He was no longer the man that used to fight back at her, trading insults and sword thrusts. He had risen above that. He still loved her, but in a different way. He had become understanding, tolerant and compassionate. He did not hate her, because he did not hate himself. He knew that God loved him.
I believe that the change came through his music. He practiced very seriously for some years, and developed into a competent player. He was asked to play at weddings and other social and religious functions. He played quite beautifully but more importantly, his music was of high Life Energy.
This was the difference between them. Maria’s recorder sat unplayed at the back of her closet, but Sam played his guitar with love every day. She believed that God hated her. He knew that he was loved.