Join Our Community

How Love Unites Us

Articles Inspirational articles from Hay House authors

How Love Unites Us

Family ties we all share.
Carmen  Harra
Carmen Harra More by this author
May 03, 2011 at 10:00 AM

If I close my eyes, I can see it all again: The plump summer tomatoes were ripening off to the far left side of my grandmother’s large and fertile country garden. She bent over to collect a few of the biggest ones as several chickens waddled past. Inside the house, my younger sister sat at the wooden dining table peeling newly picked potatoes with a knife. Just a few hours, I thought with a smile, and they’ll all be here. I sprinted through that lovely garden to help my grandmother, in preparation for our family dinner.

Later, my entire family gathered around the wooden table, joined in each other’s presence, just as simple meals have been shared by countless families and friends for centuries. To laugh without restraint and eat freshly prepared food, to spread the joy of loving company and reassure each other that we would always remain united through the ebb and flow of life—this was all we needed. We spoke boisterously yet warmly, bellowing jokes across the table. No one uttered a word of complaint that we couldn’t afford a television set for our minuscule house located far from the bustle of the city. No mention was made of the extreme Communist regime that often rendered our supermarkets so empty that our faces reflected in the barren steel shelves. We simply absorbed the rustic ambience of our home and the peace it delivered to our souls as we raised our glasses in a uniform toast of high and low voices: “To family.”

In terms of material wealth, we were extremely poor. We had no running water, and my sister and I were careful with our few precious toys, supplementing them with items we found in the woods and the figments of our rich imaginations. Despite our poverty, we felt rich in our ability to lift each other up through any phase of life. From a very young age, we knew what mattered.

As a little girl, I was convinced that I would be a great singer and appear on television someday. Despite having spent a year in the hospital due to asthma, I developed such a powerful voice that I was able to win one singing contest after another. Then, as I entered my teenage years, I began to rise to fame. By the time I was 27, I had released 12 albums and was a household name in my country. My singing career allowed me to help my family financially: I carried them on my shoulders with great pleasure, as they had always supported me.

When I left Romania behind and immigrated to America, I cried, not knowing when I’d be able to see everyone again. Having given up my homeland for the West, I wouldn’t be welcomed back—the Iron Curtain stood between me and those I loved. But I was fortunate enough to find my husband very soon after arriving in the U.S.; I was even luckier that he, too, came from a large, welcoming family. They were always there for one another, celebrating every special occasion and coming together in times of difficulty, much like what I’d just left behind.

My husband and I also started a family of our own and raised three daughters. But today, not only do I find myself without my parents, but my husband, Virgil, recently passed away from lung cancer. Only after life had taken away so many of the people I love did I realize just how much more empowered I felt when my family was whole. As with any family, we had our squabbles, but with so little to distract us or fool us into believing that possessions would make us happy, we always came together again in forgiveness.

We were the source of each other’s strength and resilience. There was always someone to listen when we were feeling scared or sad, someone to lend support and gently remind us to return our thoughts to all that is beautiful in life—to joy and optimism. The delicious food at my childhood home’s wooden table sustained us, but it was the company that gave us vitality and hope.

Now I meet many people who have luxurious homes with expensive, quality sets of fine china in ornate dining rooms, as well as access to produce from thousands of miles away and 24-hour grocery stores filled with all they could ever want to eat. They have families and neighbors and know many more people, yet they feel lonely and disconnected. They often sit alone with their worries, certain that no one else would understand, convinced that friends and family would be far too busy to listen to their troubles . . . so they remain silent and detached.

When you sit around a table with others, you restore your strength. You nourish yourself with the fruit of the earth, as well as with laughter, love, conversation, and memories. If you pay close attention, you start to become aware of your connections to those who came before you and those who will come after you—to those you may never meet but who, like you, gather around the table. You are part of a large family called the human race. Peace and power are yours when you realize that you’re never alone—that you’re always loved, heard, valued, and supported. This knowledge will give you the courage to believe in tomorrow and keep pressing forward, even when the road is treacherous and the path in front of you isn’t clear. That is the power of wholeliness.

About Author
Carmen  Harra
Best-selling author Carmen Harra, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist and TV personality who has been featured on an array of national shows such as The View, Good Morning America, the Today show; and in publications such as The New Yo Continue reading