Love Hurts

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Photo by Joe Grant © 2018

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
No one has greater love than this, to lay down your life for your friends.”

John 15:12-13

Seeker,
When have you truly loved?

There are places
on our precious planet
that never fail to move me.

There are people in my life
I like and admire,
who always seem to inspire.

There are tastes,
sights, sounds, activities
that give me joy.

I might say “I love”
these, places, people,
things to see and do.

What I mean is;
they bring pleasure,
fill my days with delight.

Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. 1 John 4:7-8

There are also places
I avoid, people I fear
and deeply dislike.

There are realities
in our world I despise;
differences, difficulties, I cannot reconcile.

There are transgressions
in my life that are shameful; 
experiences I am unable to accept; abhorrent actions and attitudes.

Try as I might,
I cannot escape
these distressing aspects of life.

Yet, there is another, disturbing dimension; 
a level of connection, a place of encounter,
embrace and engagement.

This state of being;
beyond like or dislike;
defies adequate description.

It lacks those hardened boundaries
that keep reality at arm’s length:
objective, separate, manageable.

What we call LOVE
is so often misrepresented, 
so broadly misunderstood.

I look into your eyes
which are sometimes green and sometimes gray,
and sometimes full of humor, but often not,
and tell myself, you are better,
because my life without you would be
a place of parched and broken trees.  Mary Oliver

Here is a costly truth,
learned by letting LOVE take me out of bounds,
across lines of affection and disaffection: LOVE hurts!

This does not mean we allow
people to abuse or exploit us or anyone.
Suffering-LOVE neither quails nor quivers!

It boldly demands that we listen,
let life look us in the eye, 
and see our true selves mirrored in our care.

Suffering-LOVE dismantles barricades. Where there is a barrier—
“This far shall I love and no further!”— we remain within the limits of affection,
protecting ourselves from LOVE’s harshest truth.

Suffering-LOVE is a liberating force.
It neither clings nor holds captive.
It is expressed only in raw release.

Everyone, everything we love, we must let go.
We know how deeply we love —something, someone, our lives—
in that moment and wrenching act of letting-go.

The deeper the LOVE,
the more devastating
the letting-go.

Love all God’s creation, the whole and every grain of sand of it. Love every leaf, every ray of God’s light. Love the animals, love the plants, love everything. If you love everything, you will perceive the divine mystery in things. Once you perceive it, you will begin to comprehend it better every day. And you will come at last to love the whole world with an all-embracing love. Fyodor Dostoyevski

At this poignant-painful point
of relinquishment,
we enter the blissful-broken heart of our Greatest LOVER:

the Most Moved Mover,
whose essence is life-giving,
liberating, suffering-LOVE.

Now at last can we know
how the Holy One feels.
May it be so for you.

God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. 1 John 4:16, 18

joe