Have you ever given consideration to what Love Is? We find Love defined in the Bible, the dictionary, The Science of Mind and numerous texts, I'm sure. We also hear it expressed about us, "I Love You", "I Love Him", "I Love Her", "I Love Them", "I Love That", etc. But, have we really given consideration to what Love Is?
I was thinking back on the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in light of this week's MLK Day celebration. I also re-read his "Letter from Birmingham Jail" and re-listened to his "I Have a Dream" speech.
I was a child during this period of time in our collective history and remember vividly the "breaking news" announcement of his assassination. We lived on "Meehan" street at Fort Benning, Georgia. The military base housing was pretty much integrated while the city of Columbus, Georgia for the most part was still segregated.
As a kid, I knew of Dr. King as a preacher and leader of the Civil Rights movement that we continued to hear about, and had a very, very vague sense of him as a father and husband too. Only after his death did I really learn more about what he endured as a man.
Then, I remember thinking, "why would he do this, take on this responsibility, where people wanted to kill him or injure his family?" Now, I know that it couldn't have been for the money, because he couldn't have been paid that much. It couldn't have been as simple being "his mission" or that he sought notoriety. Taking the stand that he took, even to the point of it costing him his life, this has to be what, Love Is!
Sitting here, I'm also reminded of some experiences that I had during my five year experience in Iraq. On one particular base that totaled 1,100 soldiers and civilians, we'd lost a soldier to an IED. We held his memorial in my MWR facility as was customary in the absence of a larger space. I still remember "Taps" being played and the "21-gun salute". More vividly, I'll never forget the letter that his six year-old daughter had written him that was on display; "See daddy, I can read and write now." This is what Love Is!
I'm reminded of my experience as I drove through "Studio City" this morning, it's a community close to Burbank here in Southern California. I saw parents holding their little one's hands as they walked to the local elementary school. I watched the mom's and dads with the back-packs in one hand and their child's hand in their other, and I knew that this too, is what Love Is!
I'm reminded also of a close friend whose mother is suffering from the effects of "Alzheimer's". She works a full time job, raises a family, cares for two homes and fills the balance of her waking hours giving "mom" detailed attention. I watched my sister and niece do the very same thing for my mother until she breathed her very last breath. I absolutely know that this is what Love Is!
Lastly, I'm reminded of the work done in our local Center for Spiritual Living by our Spiritual Director. I'm not witness to the majority of his work, but I do experience him pouring his heart and energy into teaching weekly classes, and then again on Sunday morning's, and the passion that flows through him in the process. At these times, I know that it can't possibly be for the money or recognition; this too has to be what Love Is!
What more can be said about Love other than, Love Is?
What about in your world of experience? If you're experiencing a few bumps in the road, or stepping stones that need to be negotiated, why not pause, breathe deep and consider what "Love Is" in your life?
I've found a "gem" in C.G. Jung's "Memories, Dreams, Reflections," from the chapter; "Late Thoughts." I've included it below.
I falter before the task of finding the language which might adequately express the incalculable paradoxes of Love. Eros is a kosmogonos, a creator and "father-mother" of all higher consciousness. I sometimes feel that Paul's words –"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not Love" –might as well be the quintessence of divinity itself. Whatever the learned interpretation may be of the sentence "God is Love," the words affirm the complexion oppositorum of the "Godhead." In my medical experience as well as in my own life, I have again and again been faced with the mystery of Love, and have never been able to explain what it is. Like Job, I had to "lay my hand on my mouth. I have spoken once, and I will not answer." (Job 40:4f.)
Here is the greatest and smallest, the remotest and nearest, the highest and lowest, and we cannot discuss one side of it without also discussing the other. No language is adequate to this paradox. Whatever one can say, no words express the whole. To speak of partial aspects is always too much or too little, for only the whole is meaningful. Love "bears all things" and "endures all things" (1 Cor.13:7). These words say all there is to be said; nothing can be added to them. For we are in the deepest sense, the victims and the instruments of cosmogonic "Love". I put the words in quotation marks to indicate that I do not use it in its connotations of desiring, preferring, favoring, wishing and similar feelings, but as something superior to the individual, a unified and undivided whole. Being a part, man cannot grasp the whole. He is at its mercy. He may assent to it, or rebel against it; but he is always caught up by it and enclosed within it. He is dependent upon it and is sustained by it. Love is his light and his darkness, whose end he cannot see. "Love ceases not" –whether he speaks with the "tongues of angels." Or with scientific exactitude traces the life of the cell down to its uttermost source.
Man can try to name Love, showering upon it all the names at his command, and still he will involve himself in endless self-deceptions. If he possesses a grain of wisdom, he will lay down his arms and name the unknown by the more unknown, ignotum per igntius –that is, by the name of God. That is a confession of his subjection, his imperfection, and his dependence; but at the same time a testimony to his freedom to choose between truth and error.
~ Carl Gustav Jung, excerpted from; "Memories, Dreams, Reflections" 1961~