Love answers 6

“In our travels, we’ve seen extraordinary acts of love in the harshest conditions- stories that break your heart and fill them at the same time.”

Excerpts from Chatelaine Feb. 2014, written by Craig and Marc Kielburger.

Pakistani brick-maker  Photo credit

Craig writes, “I discovered the meaning of true love on my first trip to Pakistan. I met a woman making bricks at a kiln. For 12 hours a day, she inhaled coal fumes and wrecked her back to earn two to three dollars. She never saw that money though, because she was paying off a debt – her husband’s. You see, the man she loved had become too sick to work, so she took his place until his debt was paid. It was an extraordinary act of love…”

rugmark-factoryIndian carpet factory  photo credit

Marc shares, “I was in northern India with an organization that fought child slavery, where I saw a group of fathers on a hunger strike. Their children were held as indentured labourers at a local carpet factory. These dads were clearly enduring incredible physical hardship. They told us, however, that their children were suffering worse conditions inside the factory. Some days later, the dads won. Their children were rescued, and as we watched the emotional family reunions, it was hard to tell who was more emaciated – the kids who had survived months of bonded labour or the fathers who starved themselves to free them.

Dadaab refugee camp. Photo credit

Craig writes, “Three years ago, I visited Dadaab, the world’s largest refugee camp, in northern Kenya. A farmer arrived at the camp with his eight-year-old son, but refused to release the boy from his embrace. The father explained quietly that he had lost two years worth of crops, then set out on foot with his wife and four children to find respite. Along the way, food was scarce, and despite their begging, one child and then the other starved to death. The devastated father was forced to bury three children in shallow graves by the side of the road. Then his wife died, also from hunger, He was so stricken by grief and emaciated that he wanted to lie down in the dirt and die too. But he had one child still remaining, a child he could save if he just made it to Dadaab. So he picked up his son and struggled forward. That boy lived because his father’s love and determination trumped starvation and fatigue.

The Keilburger brothers founded Free The Children and Me to We. Buy your Valentine’s Day card (and other socially conscious gifts) at Me to We and support safe water, food & health projects in third world villages.

Love Answers 4

What have you done for love?
A reader answered by email (

“I am a lesbian. After three years with a wonderful woman, she revealed to me that she’d always felt she was a male inside, a man in the wrong body. Obviously, a heterosexual man.
She went through the changes- therapy, hormones, name change, family and friends’ reactions, job changes and finally surgery. I went through it all with her, now him. I loved the person I loved. Whether female or male, it’s the same person.
And that’s what I did for love- I became heterosexual.
It was a mistake.
After many years, I realized I was the one living a lie.
My husband supported me as I once supported him- and we divorced. As I said at the start- I am a lesbian.”



Love answers 2

DSC00387    What Have You Done for Love?

One Canadian reader answered: “At the age of 15, I met a Turk online.  We fell in love and I married him under an Islamic contract. It was a passionate and intense relationship. We understood each other with all our quirks and we created a safe environment for each other. We alternated visiting each other regularly for 4 years.  I got to explore Turkey and that sense of novelty and freedom added to the emotional intensity of our relationship. He was 6 years my senior.

Our ivory tower was soon destroyed by the realities of life: citizenship, religion, logistics…  We were comfortable with our romance but everything outside of it tore us down.  I was a young, stubborn idealist and my naivete and immaturity ended our relationship. If only I was a bit wiser at the time…

A few years later, I converted to Islam. I married a man 11 years my senior with an almost opposing personality.  It was not love but a rational decision to marry in order to complete half of my religion.  I have 2 children from him and we live in Yemen.  I sometimes I miss the love and passion I had with the Turk, but my current husband provides stability and a nourishing environment to raise healthy children.

As a person who thrives on connecting on a deeper level with people, this relationship has not been easy. However, my first love showed me the depth and potential in loving another, and the dangers of our shadows projecting unto another. It made me wiser, and I’m hopeful that a more mature and healthy love can be found again, perhaps at another junction in my journey.”

Another Canadian wrote of an affair:   DSC00381

“Thirteen years ago I fell in love with my neighbour. He told me he loved me and that was it – I was hooked. I was married with two small children and so was he. On New Year’s Day, after four months of passionate sneaking around, we told our partners we had met our soul mates and we were leaving.

24 hours later, after threats from his wife, he called it off.

My husband came to where I was, picked me up off the floor and whisked me off to a hotel where he held me while I wept in anguish at losing what I thought was the love of my life.

What I did for love was stay with my husband. I realize now, after 22 years of marriage, soul mates are the stuff of fairy tales and his love is the stuff of life.”

I wondered how those 2 families managed to be neighbours after that, and the reader answered me thus:   “He moved a year later. Thank God.  My husband and I are still in the same house though. We laugh about it now.”

Wow! Thanks for the stories guys!

To participate, please read “Love and You” and share with us- everyone has a love story. Or two.


Love Answers 1


A woman, 45, wrote to say, “I gave up air conditioning (house and car) for the whole 6 years that I went out with an environmental activist. It gets really hot and humid here, so it was a real sacrifice. I also slept on the floor when I stayed at his place. (He’s minimalist too.)”

She adds: “I also stopped killing bugs, because it offended him to take any life. Yesterday I enjoyed a killing spree with a fly swatter in my house. A few years ago I would have captured them in a jar and released them to the outside.”

I received this answer from “Sharon” in Chicago. “I’m a chameleon. I give up whoever I am to become whoever he wants. I adopt my lovers’ hobbies and lifestyle. If he’s social, or a drinker, then so am I. If the next one is health-conscious, then so am I. I spent so much energy trying to make them happy. Now I think, after all this time, I don’t even know who I am or what I want.”

Check out “Love and You” and drop me a line at

What have you done for love?


I was getting my hair cut the first time it happened. When my hairdresser heard I was quitting my jobs and moving to Turkey to marry a man I’d spent only 3 weeks with, she said, “I wouldn’t do it.”

“Really?” I was genuinely surprised. “Wouldn’t you do it for love?”


“But what if you were head over heels? What if it was the great love of your life?”

“No. I would never take a risk like that.”

I was shocked to learn that many people thought I was mad or silly, even irresponsible and self-destructive. My refrain became, “But wouldn’t you do it for love?” And the majority answered, “Nope.”

At times I felt judged, and I became a little quieter with my joy and my excitement. Protective of it, really. What made people think they could infuse fear into me? They tried- I heard plenty of frightening portrayals of Muslim men in Islamic countries.

So when I wrote The Word Not Spoken I had to make the main character, Leigh, believable. The reader needs to like Leigh, not think she’s crazy or irresponsible. I gave her doubts and time to think. I left her with nothing at home except a job she hated. I gave her a reason to need space from her family. But in truth, I personally did not struggle with the decision. For me, there was no decision at all. I loved him. He loved me. I didn’t need much else.

Why was it so easy for me, I wondered while I wrote. Was it because I’m easily bored? Or because I’m Aries? An adventurer? No…I think I just knew in my gut. And I felt so Alive!

I know I’m not alone. Plenty of people follow their hearts, regardless of the risk. I want to hear from them…from you. I want to know- What have you done for love? Yes, the grand gestures, the sacrifices, the courageous acts of faith…

I want to know if it was worth it. I suspect it’s always worth it- even when we’re disappointed, at least we followed our hearts and learned the outcome- isn’t it worth it to know? Maybe you disagree. Did you give up too much to ever fully recover?

Do we sometimes do too much for love? Where did you draw the line?

Please email me at and share:

  • What have you done for love?
  • Was it worth it?
  • Your gender

I am reporting results and interesting stories in this blog as they come in (but only if I have your permission in writing).

Seriously, isn’t the desire to love and be loved the primary motivation for most of our actions? I am 20 years older now, less healthy and strong, but even today, especially today, I would get on that plane.

Answers to Flowers in the Sky – Culture & Art blog

(match the paintings with the artist’s country of birth):

  1. Iran     2.  Congo     3.  China     4.  Nepal     5.  Canada     6. India