Love and Living

The Hope of Loving
Meister Eckhart

What keeps us alive, what allows us to endure?

I think it is the hope of loving,
or being loved.

I heard a fable once about the sun going on a journey
to find its source, and how the moon wept
without her lover’s
warm gaze.

We weep when light does not reach our hearts.
We wither
like fields if someone close
does not rain their
kindness
upon
us.

I’ve been reading the late Thomas Merton’s Love and Living of late and found his words of wisdom to be profound. In a world where work and material wealth are most often our primary indicators of ‘success,’ it is love–loving and being loved, that I believe is the true measure of our wealth. What a different world it might be if love, not money or fame, was the primary purpose for our lives. As is often the case, no one on their death bed says they wished they had more money or stuff in life. On the one year anniversary of Karen Armstrong’s Charter for Compassion (watch the video and sign it!), may all beings know love and compassion for ourselves, each other, and our world.

From Merton:
“Love is, in fact, an intensification of love, a completeness, a fullness, a wholeness of life. We not live merely in order to vegetate through our days until we die. Nor do we live merely in order to take part in the routines of work and amusement that go on around us. We are not just machines that have to be cared for and driven carefully until they run down. In other words, life is not a straight horizontal line between two points, birth and death. Life curves upward to a peak of intensity, a high point of value and meaning, at which all its latent creative possibilities go into action and the person transcends himself or herself in encounter, response, and communion with another. It is for this that we came into the world–this communion and self-transcendence. And this must not be confined only to sexual fulfillment: it embraces everything in the human person–the capacity for self-giving, for sharing, for creativity, for mutual care, for spiritual concern.

Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone–we find it with another. We do not discover the secret of our lives merely by study and calculation in our own isolated meditations. The meaning of our life is a secret that has to be revealed to us in love, by the one we love. And if this love is unreal, the secret will not be found, the meaning will never reveal itself, the message will never be decoded. At best, we will receive a scrambled and partial message, one that will deceive and confuse us. We will never be fully real until we let ourselves fall in love–either with another human person or with God.”

And I might add, falling in love with the earth! Out of love for the earth, may we walk lightly upon her and care for all her creatures. May it be so.