bad news, big love, curious, engaged, example, humanity, Hurricane Matthew, listen, love, Meg Wheatley, open our hearts, pain, pray, quiet, reality of pain, The Sophia Center for Spirituality, Turning To One Another, world
I am probably going to sound like a broken record today but in the face of all the “bad news” that greeted me when I turned on my computer this morning, I can’t help it. It would be easy to stay frozen in my rocking chair and figuratively “bury my head in the sand” knowing all the devastation of hurricane Matthew thus far in the Caribbean and anticipating “his” arrival in the United States or reading so many e-mails asking prayers for loved ones diagnosed with terminal diseases. I won’t even begin to talk about politics and the state of our nation! For solace I turned to Meg Wheatley. She quoted Sharon Salzberg’s concise dictum that I believe could solve everything if we could just intuit the depth of meaning in it and choose to embrace it fully. Salzberg says:
Only love is big enough to hold all the pain in this world.
She doesn’t say that love is big enough to minimize the pain or eradicate the pain or (God forbid) help us ignore the pain. She calls us to see that only in recognizing and being willing to embrace the reality of pain in our lives and in the larger world in solidarity with each other will we be able to endure. Meg Wheatley then adds, I think of a gesture of love as anything we do that helps others discover their humanity. Any act where we turn to one another. Open our hearts. Extend ourselves. Listen. Any time we’re patient. Curious. Quiet. Engaged…I feel we become more fully human through our generosity, when we extend to another rather than withdraw into ourselves. (Turning to One Another, p. 138)
It’s okay to start small. Read the news. Pray for one situation, one person to get better. Make a phone call to use your voice for good. Show up when it counts. Be a good example to a teenager. Get used to practicing until “big love” is the only way you can imagine living, even though it is not the easiest way to live.