The Mystery of Love
Wednesday, December 13 at 9 p.m. – The Mystery of Love
In popular culture, one type of love, sexual romance, is prized above all. But there are many kinds of love that give shape and meaning to life, passionate connections that define what we value and who we are. Despite thousands of years of advice from philosophers and sages, and libraries filled with possible answers, love remains one of the immense ongoing mysteries of life. The Mystery of Love, airing Wednesday, December
13 at 9 p.m. on WXXI-TV 21 (cable 11), puts love on the public agenda. Author, playwright and actress Anna Deavere Smith hosts.
Fueled by one-dimensional and misleading caricatures of love and romance in the popular media, people imagine that love is only about finding an ideal mate. But love has many more dimensions and possibilities. In a world of deepening violence and misunderstanding, it’s necessary to explore the forces that hold things together. By expanding the definition of love, people may learn to honor equally the many forms of affection and connection that create a healthy life and society.
The Mystery of Love examines the many faces of love through in-depth stories of marriage, family, friendship, divine love, altruistic love, brotherly love, the love between parents and children, and love of community. In this program, viewers:
• meet Emily Lodine, opera singer, and Gary Overgaard, Minnesota pig farmer. They sat next to one another on a flight to Europe, fell in love and married.
• see love in action with BACA (Bikers Against Child Abuse), a national organization of bikers who work with law enforcement officials to safeguard and “adopt” abused children. Through BACA, J.D. and Thumper, an Austin couple who were abused as children, give of themselves to protect children at risk, and in the process, help to heal their own childhood wounds.
• meet 85-year-old Camilla Williams, the first African American in a major American opera company, and 95-year-old Boris Bazala, her longtime accompanist. Both widowed, they now live together platonically in Bloomington, Indiana, where Camilla has taught in the university’s music department for 30 years. Camilla says, “I think there are all kinds of love. There’s romantic; and then there is friendship. And I thank the Lord every day for the friendship of Boris.”
• meet Azim Khamisa, a Muslim father whose 20-year-old son was murdered by 14-year-old gang member Tony Hicks. As he dealt with his sorrow, Khamisa came to realize that there were “victims at both ends of the gun.” In his heart, he forgave his son’s murderer and began working with Hicks’ grandfather, Ples Felix. Together they speak with young people about the terrible effects of violence. In the process, they have become as close as brothers.
• meet musicians Mark and Monica. She deemed herself a loser in love; he had already been married twice unsuccessfully. After meeting on the Internet, they fell in love, but Monica was nervous. As she says, “Married twice with a kid” was not what she had in mind for a partner. Mark had always believed that marriage was “as long as you both shall love.” With a shift in their understanding of lifetime commitment, the two were married, with The Mystery of Love cameras present.
• meet the Swann brothers, twins and an older sibling, who have gone off to war in Iraq at the same time. They left their divorced mother alone at home in Baltimore for the first time in her life. The separation of the brothers in a war zone and between mother and sons shows the strong bond that holds this family together.
• meet Dr. Frans de Waal, director of the Living Links Center at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center of Emory University and world-famous research scientist and expert on the behavior of chimpanzees and bonobo apes. He shows viewers how friendship and connection operate among primates, whose behavior is similar to that of humans.
Pictured: Actor, playwright and author Anna Deavere Smith (pictured) hosts the program.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of The Independent Production Fund