The Experience of Love: Declaring One’s Role
The Experience of Love: Declaring One’s RoleMs. Kumiko Kato, Company employee, Kobe, Japan
Now that everything is being renewed (yes, everything), the president of our organization challenged us to “seriously rethink our very own roles.” Each staff member had the opportunity to deliver a presentation in front of the entire organization, including the president. Everyone presented in their own voice and according to their own will. It was an important day for me, too, because I thought of this declaration as a way to declare our roles to ourselves. It was a completely renewed organization, with everyone taking their seats and dynamically fulfilling their roles. It was a day on which we could all clearly visualize that beyond that point, we would experience a landscape we had never seen before.
The next morning my son called me. To give you a little background about myself, I was divorced 24 years ago and have two sons. My ex-husband passed away in 2019 due to illness. When my sister-in-law told me the news, I learned that he had remarried shortly before his death. I was happy to know that he’d had a partner.
A while later, my two sons were brought up to speed about their inheritance. (Because we were divorced, I had no right to it.) Long before this, my sister-in-law had laughed at the idea of my sons inheriting his debts, since we knew he’d had a hard time with money. But to my surprise, he left them quite a large inheritance!
Then his wife found a will that he had written previously, which said that I, his ex-wife, would also receive an inheritance. She opened the will thinking that she would inherit everything, but found out that his two sons and even I, his ex-wife, would inherit the estate. She was not satisfied with this outcome and expressed her disapproval. I could understand her feelings, but what she did was adopting her own son, who was about 30 years old, just before he passed away as their legally registered child. She also claimed that his will did not disclose the exact amount of his inheritance, and furthermore, was not officially written and therefore invalid.
My son filed a lawsuit against her claim. He argued that it was not about the amount of money they would receive but rather, as he said, “If my father left a written statement, isn’t that what he wanted? Are you going to ignore that?” That was his case.
My son entered into the court case without my knowledge, but years later it was still not settled. It wasn’t that horribly wrong, but the time it was taking was not progressing, although I tried to bring it back to what I was looking at.
Back to the phone call from my son. He called me in the morning, which is unusual, saying, “She dropped the court case after agreeing to a settlement! We settled out of court!” My sons were to receive their inheritance, and they had thought of various ways to share it with me. I had recognized, and stated aloud, that to present something is to declare it, and by taking my original position, things moved where they should. The very next day, this phenomenon occurred.
My taciturn and clumsy ex-husband left me a form of love. I felt like, for the first time, I received love from him! And that meant there was love in me too! I wept for joyI couldn’t stop feeling moved that the time had come for the three of us, parent and children, to receive love together.
My ex-husband had worked for a major animation company, which is where we met. At that time, very few people were full-time employees – just administrative staff, some elites and producers. Most of the people on site were outsourced, contracted, or dispatched from small production companies, including my ex-husband and me.
After our divorce, my ex-husband went from being a contractor to a rare full-time employee to a senior managing director. Once, when my son looked up the company, he was surprised to see his father’s name on the board of directors! My ex-husband was a proud father to his sons, despite the fact that he had hardly seen them since our divorce.
His new wife returned a letter to us that he had treasured, written by my son when he was little. I was moved. My son must have been happy too. As parents, it’s a pleasure to be able to give your children the gift of love in the form of money. I’m also grateful to his wife, who took care of my ex-husband during his passing. I shared this story with the staff at work, and in reply, the president gave a message to everyone. Here are some excerpts.
Actually, love is waiting right beside you. How can we DANCE with love? How difficult is it for you to express your own role? You can only say it in words, What I mean is that your role begins with affirming the place where you are standing right now.
What a blessing. Thank you for being there for me all these years. I finally received that love! And you will always be there for me. I am overflowing with gratitude for the process I have been through. For the first time, I was able to approve of myself. I was able to show myself that it was not just about me alone, but the result of all the staff facing themselves as a whole. I went back and forth during the trial-and-error process of approving, accepting and loving myself. When I looked at my true role, my eyes opened unexpectedly.
I was given the opportunity to make a declaration to myself, and I was able to receive a great gift. I can clearly see that I was going through a process in which once I declared my role, there was no other way to do it. We were born with love itself, and our happiness embraces the whole world. There is no greater joy than that.