Love has a tremendous power to heal. Usually, it is the only thing which can heal. Before we can recognize the invisible love of the Divine, most people will need to feel it through the love of another person. It may be the unconditional love of a mother or father. It may be the genuine love of a partner; that trusted person who holds a unique space in our heart. The love of a partner will usually not be as unconditional as that of a good parent. In fact, it is not meant to be. A partner is not a parent. A good partner asks for accountability. It is an agreement on many different levels, as well as an unparalleled type of powerful, life changing love. It is freely given but, at the same time, one has to earn it. One can lose it or, at least, lose the relationship.
If the person has made it into the inner sanctuary of the heart, where few enter, then I feel they are entitled to life membership which means they will always be loved. At the same time, the relationship, itself, is not entitled to life membership. It must be earned on both sides by its merits. Accordingly, it will be kept or lost. A good relationship is a privilege; not an entitlement. One has to prove that one is worthy of the great benefits that come from a truly alive and real partnership.
Sometimes, transformative love is first experienced through the love of a guide or mentor. That type of love is closer to the unconditional love of a good parent. However, it is less influenced by personal issues and can be intensely educational to our soul in a very short space of time. All types of love are valid and all are transforming. Love, itself, is the teacher. Without it, we walk a track which seems to have exit signs everywhere but they are all dead-ends. The path of growth may be challenging but if we care to look we will see many beautiful, little things speaking softly in the dawn.
Some years ago, a good man I knew was coming to the end of his life. He was a gracious and nonegotisical man. He could be counted on to live by his ethics, whether people were watching or not. A secret was safe with him. It was his last hospital visit and he knew it. I don’t think he complained but dying is difficult. It is a lot of letting go. There is a great deal to come to terms with and one also worries about the grief of those who are left behind. Some people try to outlive their partner to save their loved one the grief but that is not always an option.
I hadn’t seen this gentleman all through his illness but I could feel his inevitable struggle. He was an old-fashioned, private person but I wanted to say something to him and so I sent him a card with just a few words on it, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. (John 14:27) That was what he needed – the peace that doesn’t come from this world. After all, he was exiting this one. When nothing else can comfort, we can turn to that loving presence which waits for us to see it. Later on, I was told that it was the card he kept on his hospital bedside table and the one he kept on his mantelpiece at home for the few weeks before he left on his new journey. He had his peace.
This article is from Love’s Longing