You know, we can't escape this love thing. We just can't. It breathes through us, in us, makes us hurt when it leaves us. It is a current in the universe, a golden river. This is Truth.
But it is fickle, subtle, and powerful all at once. It needs to be drawn out, reinvented, sown, given. Cultivated.
WE need to be purposeful about cultivating the Presence of Love; to make Love a manifestation in the dark places of this world and our souls. We need to be agents of love manifest.
A pretty important being in the history of things, Jesus, said it was an action, he gave instruction on how to do it. It went something like this, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength. Love your neighbor as yourself. These are the greatest commandments." (paraphrase from Matt: Loving God and loving others is really all there is. So go out and do it! It will change your life and the lives of those around you!) The real rub of this, coming from Jesus, was that he lived it, and it did create a world shift. A world shift. He exuded Love... and we still see its ripples.
Jesus attracted people. I want to believe that he was like a narcotic. People just couldn't get enough. Those closest to him became zealots... and all died doing what Jesus did, changing the world with Love. One of his friends wrote some famous words once. I think I might like them the most in the entirety of the crazy collection of diaries and letters and folklore and God's love letter, the Bible. He (John) said, "If you don't know love, you don't know God, God is Love." He basically said, if you know Love, you know God. Wow. What?!?! This is big. Timeout.
This is such a gutsy sentence. He put the two biggest things that mankind has ever tried to process together. God (out there, ambiguous, existential, but we all move towards it or try to understand it, or avoid it) and Love (we all need it, want it, give it, take it, abuse it, grow it, and have a really hard time pinpointing it, putting it in a box, bottling it, saving it, remembering it) John then made a bold leap. He connected the two. He married them. Forever connected them. One is the other. He said (in a crude way), "They are the same thing!" God's essence is Love. Love is God expressed/translated/given.
One of my favorite authors, Paulo Coelho wrote about love. He does a lot. He is Brazilian, those guys are passionate people. He put a great spin on it. He wrote, "If someone is capable of loving his partner without restrictions, unconditionally, then he is manifesting the love of God. If the love of God becomes manifest, then he will love his neighbor. If he loves his neighbor, he will love himself. If he loves himself, then everything returns to its proper place. History Changes." Wow.
This is the message of Christ, the Gospel. The way of living rightly.
I think all things profound need something tangible to set it. Like when you think about the bigness of the universe, but really understand it when you are on the edge of the Grand Canyon. Or when you are finding love for the first time and then you touch her hand or have a first kiss and your world stops. I really dig the Coelho passage because it is a something that I can get my mind around. His words are grounded in experience. It all starts with exposure and love-focus on another. One that is (hopefully) reciprocated.
I have to say this, my wife and I are falling deeply in love lately. Not that we have not been in love already. I think its just hitting a deep pocket that I never new existed. It's been incredible. I told her recently that I feel that for the first time in our lives, we are lovers. Truly lovers. (I think this is something that a lot of people, even married, and married well, folks never experience) It's incredible. I mean for me its like the movies, like Romeo and Juliet and all that wrapped up and packaged with her and I in it.
I have been through phases in life where I value different things in relationships or I learn how to value different things in relationships. I have met a lot of couples. Each values something different. There are ones who have wives/husbands who are their best friends, their caretakers, their financial advisors, the cohabitants of their houses, their sex partners, their escape from the fear of being alone, their entire identity (yikes!), you know, a lot of things. For them, contentment is found in one of these shades of companionship. Totally okay, awesome for them even (I hope and if its not, I hope they are all brave enough to change life for the better).
I think at one point or another I have been there with my feelings about my wife or a girlfriend along the way. I don't often come across friends who truly have a lover. Maybe this is because those who do keep it in. I just don't know about it. I know I do this a lot, hide my relationship with my lady from others. I have a hard time sharing my relationships. I hate exposing them for fear of judgement (as this is often the result of sharing). But, my wife and I were talking about this, and sharing what we have might get one of the few people who read this to think about it, to maybe have the courage to pursue it, to try it on. It may not fit, but at least he or she had the courage to try. Here we go...
I am jealous of my lover's time. I think about her passionately. She does the same. She is courageous. She makes me brave. I make her stronger. We can't wait to eat dinner together, share a bottle of wine, laugh, make love, talk, watch the rain or the fire, to go out to eat at 5 o'clock like old people, to be lovers and that is all.
I wish this for everyone. I do. I don't think everyone will have this. It comes at a cost. A cost. This is a naked exercise, an exposed and initially fearful and uncomfortable process. Finding each other as lovers requires us to sacrifice our time, our thoughts, others' opinions about us, our egos, our deep places, our secrets, our warts, our convenience, our money, a big family. But for Katherine and I, its just right. (I know that in all my life I will remember this time we are experiencing. I will. It will be one of the last of my thoughts, one of the first on Saturday mornings when she is still asleep next to me. I will remember it when I am 84 and have cancer in a hospital, and she will be there.)
Cohelo is on to something because this is the closest thing I have to experiencing God, to demonstrating God, to seeing Love manifest. I am exposed with my wife. But its okay. And this exposure is such a part of the True manifestation of God (love).
The concept of Love as I have painted it in this is contingent on a few things. It also has a fantastic storybook ending as well, the world is changed. History is written. It all hinges on this part where we have to love outside of ourself with recklessness. Most people I know are not reckless with their love. For whatever reason, abuse, mistrust, fear, failure, or whatever, we become guarded with our hearts. But, Love (God) doesn't work this way. Guarded-ness is only that, a guard or a defense mechanism, a big freakin concrete wall.
When we let go, give bigger than our selfishness, only then are we releasing God's love in the world and our lives.
Love is released. Its a wild, untamed thing. It takes control and changes my relationships.
And I am strong and exhilarated because of it; I can't help but love people. My associates become brothers. My acquaintance becomes a kindred. My neighbors become family. When this happens, I am convinced that I am loved. Full Circle. Unreal.
My world changes, is changing, and so is yours.
MAKE LOVE MANIFEST