The capacity to love

Those who read my other blogs will know that I was recently in Taiwan for almost 2 weeks to train with my martial arts shifu (teacher/father) Master Chen Yun-Ching. During that time I (amongst others) was adopted as a "bai shi" - an inner circle student or "martial son" of Master Chen. It is one of the highest honours I have ever received in my life, and also ranks with some of the most emotional experiences I've had.

During the trip I not only experienced the joy of being adopted into Master Chen's extended family, but I also formed some very close bonds with other members of our group. These bonds transcend the normal/everyday friendships one might have at work or sports etc; I'm talking about friendships that go to the pit of your stomach. That I should have made such friendships is possibly not an accident; Master Chen and his adopted brother James Sumarac had clearly hand-picked people from around the world who are of a like mind, character and disposition to participate and assist in the event.

While I experienced some serious homesickness during the journey (in particular, missing my wonderful wife and 2 lovely children), it is also fair to say that almost a month after the journey I still find myself wistfully remembering my time with my new friends and missing them painfully.

All this reminds me of a conversation I had with one of those close friends, professional photographer Gunter Bohenzky (whom I had met and befriended on previous trips to Melbourne), who once said to me: "Your capacity to love does not diminish depending on the number of people whom you love. The time you have available for each person diminishes. But your capacity to love remains unlimited." Now I truly understand what he meant.