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love

Love

by Judy
March 17, 2014

A few days ago I had a dream right before I woke up. I was in a hotel with many of my friends as well as many of my possessions. As I packed up my bags to leave, I found that my clothes and “things” kept being stolen. In the dream, I would catch the thieves and they would put everything back, but quickly afterwards everything would be stolen again. I woke up thinking: “I don’t care about my possessions; the only thing that matters is love.”

Now I was aware when this happened that this is a very common understanding expressed again and again. Often people at the end of their lives express this sentiment. And all the Saints, seers and religious figures have always spoken about love and its significance. Wasn’t this fundamentally the message that Christ left us with when he said to love thy neighbor as thyself? It is expressed so often that it can become almost a cliché and not taken seriously and yet its significance still rings true today. In many ways we still haven’t “caught up” with its message. It is so easy to get tangled up in all the “doings” of one’s life; to literally be running from A to B and forget what is most important – that in-between place where life, relating, connecting happens…where love lives.

Love moves the world - love for our family, our husbands and wives, our friends - love for what we do, for our dreams and visions for what is possible…love for the creatures on this planet...for that which is higher, for the mystery, the sacred and most of all, love for our fellow human beings. At the core, we are made of love, that is our natural language; the language of the heart.

A day after having this dream, I seemed to see love all around me. I went on the facebook page and there was an image from the middle ages of a man and woman; a fresco, leaning in towards each other almost reverently.

Then I saw a short film about two circus elephants reunited after 22 years of separation at an elephant sanctuary in Tennessee. There was immediate recognition and love. Since reuniting, they are inseparable, moving in sync and in constant physical contact - their trunks often caressing each other. These big wonderful creatures will live out their last days soulfully together. On this film we also saw Solomon who had taken care of one of these circus elephants, Jenny, for years. Tears rolled down his eyes as he took leave of his dear friend and finally released her of the chains that had been around her legs. He said, “I don’t know who was the first person to put a chain on us, but I’m glad to know I was the last to take it off. She’s free at last. We’ll miss each other.”

What is this love that touches us so deeply? At the heart is our deep interconnection with each other. That is what truly matters and what lights up our lives. It comes in many shapes and forms. It could simply be a shared smile with the cashier man or woman at the supermarket or an encounter of sincere interest in another - anywhere and at anytime. Every day is a chance to love our neighbor - to connect - which makes all the difference in the way we go through life, our day to day existence.

With my mom lying in bed most of the day, what does she value now? It’s not how much we know or have or do. As she lies in bed, she has in a sense infinite time and is endlessly available. She’s available for that simple human contact and touch and sweet encounter. She’s available for kindness, for spending time in basic ways; laughing together, telling stories. She may not remember everything about her past or even know what day it is, but there is still a heart beating inside. I recently read to her an essay I had written for our blog site and she started to cry. She was crying because she was so touched, not from pain or sadness, but by the beauty of what she heard. And then as she calmed down, she said, “I don’t mind dying, but I don’t want to leave you.” So much love. Love pure and simple. That is, in the end, all that matters. It matters in the beginning, in the middle and at the end.

Viktor Frankl wrote in a revelation he had while in the concentration camps of World War II, “For the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom of so many thinkers. The truth – that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire…The salvation of man is through love and in love.”

 

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