Should Love's heart rejoice unless I burn? For my heart is Love's dwelling. If You will burn Your house, burn it, Love! Who will say, "It's not allowed"? Burn this house thoroughly! The lover's house improves with fire. From now on I will make burning my aim, for I am like the candle; burning only makes me brighter. Abandon sleep tonight; traverse for one night the region of the sleepless. Look upon these lovers who have become distraught and like moths have died in union with the One Beloved. Look upon this ship of God's creatures and see how it is sunk in Love.
*Rumi. The Rumi Collection. Ed. Kabir Helminski. "The Ship Sunk in Love," Trans. Kabir and Camille Helminski.
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7Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8Love never ends. … 13So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
*I Corinthians 13, ESV
Love is anything but sentimental. In fact, it is the most real and creative form of human presence. Love is the threshold where divine and human presence ebb and flow into each other.
*John O'Donohue. Anam Ċara.
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Julianne Moore, in the 2005 science fiction "The Forgotten," plays a mother, Telly Paretta. Telly, it seems, lost her 8-year old son in an airplane crash fourteen months earlier. Suddenly, she finds that all of his possessions, even pictures of him, are missing from her home. Her psychiatrist says she is having false memories of a nonexistent boy. Her husband tells her the post-stress delusion arose from her having a child stillborn. Even though it might cost her everything, Telly sets out to prove her son's existence and, thereby, her sanity, as well as to get him back.
At the end of the movie, Telly, the only parent who remembers the children who died, apparently, in the plane crash, confronts the president of the airline. She has already figured out the children were abducted, but she does not understand why aliens want the children. She discovers from the man he is an alien using the children for an experiment. In a dramatic irony, he tells Telly the experiment was never about the children but about the bond between mother and child. The alien says she is the only one that, somehow, would not forget.
In desperation, the alien picks Telly up by the throat and commands her to think of her first memory of her son, the moment of his birth. His talking triggers her memory. Telly remembers seeing her son for the first time. The alien steals the memory from her mind. Telly slumps to the ground. The alien looks at her and says, "Tell me about your son." Telly says she has no son. Satisfied, the alien starts walking away.
Suddenly, something stirs in Telly. She has a flashback in which she is sitting on a bench happily stroking her stomach. She is pregnant. She sits up and says, "I had life inside me." She affirms, "I have a son, his name is Sam! You son of a bitch!"
The alien stares in horror, realizing the failure of his experiment to break the mother and son bond. He looks desperately toward the ceiling, pleading, "I need more time." He is whisked through the roof and into the sky.
Telly returns back to the playground near her home and finds Sam. They hug each other. The child has no memory of the abduction.
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"The Forgotten" addresses a bond created by a naturally occurring affection and commitment. This depth of love is much more mature than much that goes under the name "love."
Such profound love can thrive in varied relationships. When we have such a love for someone, we sense we are a part of something much bigger than ourselves. We are. The relationship serves that we belong together within. The heart connection has a ring of authenticity, of eternity, of nothing being able to untie the joined affection. There is a Mystery to such loving.
This is a beautiful experience. We know it as a gift given to us. This is Agape, or Divine Love, or Affection. We are fortunate in this life, if we enjoy a few of these relationships. One moment of sensing this with someone is enough to last a lifetime and more.
Whom do you love with a love having the quality of Eternity, a love given as a gift, a love that creates blissful memories you know will last this lifetime and more?
*"The Forgotten." Director, Joseph Ruben. Revolution Studios, for Columbia Pictures. 2004.
*Brian's book, An Ache for Union: Poems on Oneness with God through Love, can be ordered through major online booksellers or the publisher AuthorHouse. The book consists of poems based on wisdom traditions, predominantly Christian, Buddhist, and Sufi, with extensive notes on the poetry's teachings and imagery.