August 12, 2021
“God is love.” (1 John 4:16)
I’m told confession is good for the soul. Let’s find out. Often in my blogs, I comment on how essential it is in this turbulent and angry world to be still, to take a time out, to step back, to watch what we say. However, sometimes I fail to heed my own advice, especially when someone cuts me off in traffic. A couple of days ago, as I, ironically, was on my way to a group gathering where we discuss psychology and spirituality and how we can become more heart-centered, I was trying to merge from a turning lane into the left lane. Only one other car was in my way, and it was, of course, in that same left lane, speeding up to keep me from moving over. The driver easily could have changed lanes since the right lane was empty, or he could have slowed down just a bit to allow me to move over. But no. He sped up and blocked me.
I wish that I could say that this is the point, car to car, inches apart, where I looked over at him with love, but that would not be true. I did indeed look over, but it was to mouth some rather unkind words and flippant suggestions. If he saw me, he simply ignored me and sped on past, which probably was a good thing. Yet almost as soon as I had allowed anger to control me, I realized that my reaction had caused nothing positive at all—not for the other driver, and certainly not for me. Now, not only was I angry at what I considered rude, “all about my rights” driving, but I was also frustrated with myself. So much for deep-hearted living.
We exist in a time where, it seems to me, love is difficult to practice, if it’s even on the radar. We hear constant outrage and blame in the mouths of politicians. We hear the relentless bickering of talking heads. We watch the maskers and the anti-maskers go at it. We are bombarded by personal rights that ignore the rights of others. Even in our own groups of friends, if we pay attention, we hear ourselves judging others. Our behavior becomes brutish and self-centered. And yet, I do believe that God is love and that we, creations of that love, by whatever name we call Ultimate Love, are also supposed to be manifestations of it.
There is more to this ancient scripture verse from John, a witness to Love. It continues, “God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. God is love, and he (she) who abides in love abides in God, and God in him (her).” Yes, we are called to, made for, love, but what kind of love is this? Another ancient witness to Love, the apostle Paul, advised his people to “be humble toward one another, always considering others better than yourselves,” (Philippians 2:3) or “before yourselves,” as some translations put it. And to another group, he wrote, “Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love” (Ephesians 4:31-32; 5:1). Paul wasn’t offering a list of suggestions or a pick and choose checklist; he was, instead, reminding his people that followers of Love choose love as a deliberate action.
So, what to do in a noisy and unstable and, often, unloving world, so that we ourselves do not become noisy, unstable, and unloving? I can only speak for myself, but I am convinced that the way to love is to be still with Love each day, if only for a few moments, so that I can anchor myself there and remind myself and be enveloped in the gaze of Love. And when I fail to be loving? To be calm? To step back? Then I know it is time, again, to go back to the Source. Maybe I will meet you there. Blessings, Rosemary firstname.lastname@example.org
When the world is too much with us,
when it tumbles over yesterday’s promises
leaving them a remnant on the shore,
when the voices in our heads
and in the crowds crash
in waves of fear and despair,
that the sky is falling—
indeed it must be–
it is time to stop,
stop feeding our eyes
with hopeless words,
stop filling our ears
with divisive discourse
that cause our hearts to drown
and our souls to bury their heads
in the sand.
When the world is too much with us,
Put it all away, lock it in a trunk,
stuff it on a shelf, close the door
Sit in this one sacred moment
and do nothing else
but breathe in unison
with the Breath that breathed
life into you in the depths
of the earth.
Wrap stillness around you
like a blanket woven together
with the rhythm of your heart
and the countless stars
nodding to themselves
on the face of the ancient ocean.
Ground yourself like deep old roots
into the Truth that has always been,
is, and always will be,
that is so much larger than you,
or me, or us, or them,
that whispers “Love”
across the turbulent waters
that comes like daylight
to announce a new beginning.
All is not lost, promises Love,
for those who will stop and claim
that peace that surpasses
our understanding, that whispers
prayer, into our world.
© Rosemary McMahan