20.12.05

Edge of self (part 2) - Jesus Army Life, Day 158

I need to talk about love. Yes, okay, romantic love, but not only that type of love, parental and spiritual love too. The whole caboodle, the pink candy flossy stuff, the deep mystical kind, the "...but it's 3 'o clock in the morning, again!" type. All of it.

Another excellent conversation I had this weekend was with my brother's wife. She's in the throws of discovering motherhood. And, wonderfully, she feels like she's fallen in love all over again. But it's more than sentiment to her, she feels a mystical quality about it too. She is experiencing life, not only in new ways, but through new eyes, and to her it is as if her senses have come alive, and perhaps sharpened, as a result.

I've heard other people describe similar experiences before, but curiously when talking about God, not motherhood. For me there is something of a link between the two, and why not? Each have their own value and both highlight the benefit of loving others. In each there is the renewed possibility of 'living on the edge of your self'.

It's made me think I've been somewhat foolish. In spite of, or perhaps because of, my own experience of brotherly love, in its affectionate yet nonetheless stoical guise, or my (*cough) failed and very short-lived attempts at romantic love, I realise I've become afraid of being overwhelmed by love of any kind at all.

I've believed, rightly, the teaching that love is about perseverance and loyalty, and forgot that love is also about adventure, discovery, otherness, beauty, the sublime, wonderment, mystery, living life at its fullest. Seriously, I had come to the point where I believed that "being there" was about as much as I could ask of anyone, or they could ask of me. I guess I got a bit institutional about it all. Shying away from being truly open about feelings with brethren, I got snarled up in my own selfishness. Hope died.

Only in my rather fuzzy reception of God's love has there been an awesome, jaw-dropping, depth of experience which has blown me away. (Though, even here, I wondered if I had been short changed.) The cold reality is: if you expect little you get little. In my spiritual life I've had to deliberately pursue God because I've known he's worth it. He offers stability and security but there is so much more to this eternal Father... how could we ever explore to the end? Surely it must be the same with other relationships too. Another soul should be seen as an adventure. Living for others can be a painful experience, but it doesn't need to be a joyless one.