Quiet White Day At The Farmhouse
Here, at the Inn where I live presently, part of my work is to help clean the house. What this teaches me is a humbling lesson. I see that we can talk about love in a sentimental, abstract way. We can say things like, "I love everyone" or "Love is universal." For me, a love without walls begins in cleaning a floor, making coffee, shining a wood table, or shoveling the snow off the back deck. It is how I treat the person at check-out where I shop for groceries or the man where I take recyclables. Somehow, we bring the unconditional and universal right to where we are; love shows up where we show up. We are kind on the spot, like taking the Sun and focusing it totally in one place. If we do not do this, we are just talking. If we bring a benevolent spirit right here, putting it in time and space, we are connecting with the energies beyond where we are. Joy is given in doing the most mundane tasks for others. Doing this, we are saying, "I'm glad we are in the world together."
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Love... the Day after Christmas 2021 -
The day after Christmas. I am enjoying quiet. Meditation was deeply relaxing earlier. I enjoyed a rather long quiet time of reading and ate lunch in silence. I wrote some. I have not felt like making calls to clients. I volunteered to cover on Sundays for someone over the holidays.
I see myself bowed head, praying before each call, "Let love flow through me." That simple, nothing more or less. Now, I am ready. I feel a fresh influx of inspiration.
Among all the complexities, I want to take this prayer into my life - "Let me be love. Let others feel love through me." And if Christmas is not about this, what is it about? What happened, if I just move on from Christmas Day as though it never happened? No, I want to take love - the spirit of this Season - with me into each moment.
Sometimes, I will not sense the sense of love. Sometimes, I will feel separate from it. I may meet persons, as I have in the past, I struggled to express love to. Yet, the aspiration to be kind, caring, and welcoming can go with me like a silent partner. Hand-in-hand love and I can walk together. After all, we are hosts for each other on this Earth.
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She said to the Sage, "I feel like a failure at love. I try. What shall I do?" "Keep at it," said the Sage. "Love is like playing an instrument. You play for the music is in you. The music wants out, to be freed. Initially, you may fail more than succeed in learning to play the instrument. Soon, you play without trying. You realize what you called failure was just steps along the way. Someday, you will love as your natural way, effortlessly. Until then, you practice. If you fail, you have not failed. It is like walking - if you stumble and fall down, you just get up and begin again. You do not look back. You are with the next step completely. You might be discouraged momentarily. Then, you get over it. Someone may judge you for what they call failure. Do not take it to heart - do not let it past your ears. If you feel you failed, do not hold back. Use it as inspiration. You will discover, at some point, you are the instrument, and the music is playing you. Humans tend to divide life into failing and succeeding; in the Light, both dissolve. Simply love, be compassionate and kind, give without asking in return, do deeds no one will know of... drop the idea of getting it right or getting it wrong - that is all in the head. Love burns up all such distinctions."
*Brian K. Wilcox. "Meetings with an Anonymous Sage."
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Love [Greek, agape] bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. … So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
*I Corinthians 13.7-13 ESV
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.
John O'Donahue -
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.
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Julianne Moore, in the 2005 science fiction movie "The Forgotten," plays a mother, Telly Paretta. Telly, it seems, lost her 8-year old son in an airplane crash fourteen months earlier. Other children were reported to have died in the crash. Suddenly, she finds her son's possessions, even pictures of him, are missing from her home. Her psychiatrist says she is having false memories. Her husband tells her the post-stress delusion is from her having a child stillborn. Telly sets out to prove her son's existence and her sanity, as well as to get him back.
At the end of the movie, Telly confronts the president of the airline on which the children took the flight. She has already figured out that they were abducted but does not know why aliens would want the children. The president, an alien, informs her the children were taken as part of an experiment. He tells Telly the experiment was never about the children but the bond between mother and child. He says she is the only mother that 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 recalls 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."
Seemingly defeated, Telly says that she has no son. The alien, satisfied, starts walking away. Something stirs in Telly. She has a flashback. She is sitting on a bench happily stroking her stomach. She is pregnant. She sits up and says, "I had life inside me." She asserts, "I have a son, his name is Sam! You son of a bitch!" The alien stares in horror. He realizes 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 to the playground near her home and finds Sam. They hug. The child has no memory of the abduction.
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"The Forgotten" addresses a bond created by a naturally divine affection. Such love can thrive in varied relationships. For example, one might find a bond with others stronger than that one had with her birth family. A friend might be a deeper love than one has with siblings. A person might love her pet animal as much as any human. One may have a deep love for an aspect of Nature non-human and non-animal. An artist might have a deep bond with a painting. When any form can communicate to us the invisible realm, we can call that a bond of love. For someone or something to become sacramental, there must be love.
When we have such love for someone or something, we have a sense of being part of something much bigger than ourselves. We are. The connection has a ring of authenticity, of eternity. There is a Mystery to such loving. We could say such love is the Mystery.
This Love is a beautiful experience. We know it as a gift given to us. This love is agape, or divine love, as early Christians spoke of it. This love is what Buddhists mean by bodhichitta, the heart of love, and maitri, meaning lovingkindness, friendliness, benevolence, goodwill. Jewish tradition speaks of ahavah, "love, divine love," and chesed, "lovingkindness."
Many words point to this love, while experience of it unveils it to us. Love unveils itself. The more we welcome the experience of divine love, the more conditioned we are to receive and give it. Persons learn to hate; persons learn to love. We can learn how better to love, regardless of the love we now share. We can grow in our capacity to share this love. One moment of sensing this with someone is enough to last a lifetime and more.
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*©Brian K. Wilcox, 2021.
*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.