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By Sarah Pastore

Executive Director, Village in the Village

A Belated Valentine: Love Abounds in Corrales

“You still haven’t met all of the people who are going to love you.” —Anonymous

The day that I’m writing this happens to be my birthday, a day that always provides me with an extra opportunity for reflection. As each year passes and affords me the chance to learn more about life and love, I think about all the different iterations of love I’ve learned so far. I think the world we all want to live in is fueled by love, but it’s not only about the kind we see highlighted in the greeting card aisle this month.

As small children, we realize the purest form of love; we give and receive it unguardedly. When my sons were toddlers, I watched them develop a profound adoration not just for me, my husband, and our extended family, but also for the UPS man, their preschool teachers, and within minutes of meeting a new friend at the park. The hearts of children run wild with abandon and the possibility of new experiences.

In the teen years, butterflies fill our stomachs with the first feelings of romantic love. We’re thrust into a new world of navigating these emotions and heartbreaks. We learn to guard our hearts and we learn that sometimes love hurts. Yet the hope of sharing life with a partner propels many of us to share our hearts anyway.

Throughout our adult years, we forge the bonds of friendship that carry us through marriage, babies, careers, divorce and loss. The stories that our lives write are filled with supporting characters who laugh and cry with us —some who may impact us greatly but briefly, and others who remain steadfast beside us for decades. The love of a friend is precious in ways that in some respects, surpasses the love of a partner.

In the senior years, love finds a new maturity from a lifetime of experiences. It’s this love that pours into grandchildren, comforts adult children facing a world of uncertainty, and looks for ways to “be the change” in this same unclear future. It’s a love that finds purpose and meaning in helping others now that career obligations have subsided. It’s a time to appreciate the fruition of work that we’ve put into relationships, and a time to evaluate the love we’ve shown to others that will someday be our legacy. Rather than being hardened by the ups and downs of life, I find that many seniors have hearts that once again run wild with abandon because they can truly appreciate the gift it is to love and be loved.

I’ve had the privilege to grow my career with Village in the Village over the past 4 years. My duties began by doing administrative work and have continued to evolve so that we can expand our impact in Corrales. In learning about our organization, what I’ve noticed the most over the years is how many of our members have created extremely meaningful friendships with each other. Through social activities (in person before the pandemic, and for now on Zoom) and services provided by our volunteers, our members form connections over shared experiences, mutual friends, and common interests.

The quote I began with —“You still haven’t met all of the people who are going to love you”— instantly reminded me of Village in the Village. It didn’t occur to me until reading the quote that this organization is made up of people filled with love to share—with their friends, neighbors, and community. When our members need each other —from experiencing an unexpected injury to the loss of a spouse— they show up for each other. They’re among the first to ask, “How can I help?” I’ve seen them do it time and time again, not only for people who have become their friends, but for new ViV members they’ve never met.

This outpouring of love among ViV members is not only beautiful to see, but a true gift to Corrales. Right here in our village, we have a group of people willing and ready to help each other with life’s challenges and celebrate each other’s joys. They’re a network of dedicated and dynamic individuals, and the love and care that they show our community is why Corrales is a place I’m proud to call home.

Do you have extra love to give? Could you use a little extra love in your life? I think I know just the group for you. Find out more at http://www.villageinthevillage.org, or call (505) 274-6206.

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