“The beginning of love is the will to let those we love be perfectly themselves, the resolution not to twist them to fit our own image. If in loving them we do not love what they are, but only their potential likeness to ourselves, then we do not love them: we only love the reflection of ourselves we find in them.” – Thomas Merton
Additionally, I might say, that the beginning of love is not the end. Love is eternal. Love is infinite. Love will endure when other things fade. At times, we may act in the name of love, but do deeds that serve only our desire to be needed. The best love, is the love between the Creator and Its creation, that is kept a secret between them both.
If you are reading this essay, there is a good chance that you have been born into this world. Most likely, you have had times you describe as troublesome, and also times that you describe as good. And if you have been born into the world, have experienced any life at all, you will know “opposites”. You will know gain and loss, joy and mourning, greed and charity, happiness and despair.
The Divine, being perfectly Itself, is constantly giving good things. Wants for us, abundance. Not in order for us to have much, but to recreate Its work of giving good things in the world. The Divine is a healer, who is always making healing available to those needing to be healed. In the words of the gospel singers, “God is a way maker”, always helping those in tune with divine intuition to do great things with seemingly few resources.
And about us humans? We diminish God when we pray prayers of request or ask God to give us a thing, or to heal a friend, or to make a way. It is as if we are a five year old child, while watching his or her mother make a birthday cake, remind the baker to use the correct mixer while creating the badder. It is as if, while watching Babe Ruth walk up to bat, we remind him that the objective is to hit a home run. When we approach the throne of God with a desire, we are assuming the Divine has abundance, but for some reason is keeping abundance from us.
God made you in God’s image. Worry not for being more God like. There is no way of knowing with certainty what God is like (and anyway, that is a lot of pressure). Participate in the work of God, as best you know how, and love others in a way that makes them think of God, rather than you. Do not limit God or suggest ways God might provide for the world, your loved ones, or you. Assume the Universe is desperately trying to give everyone alive today, the abundance, joy, and peace they desire.
Be grateful, expect good things, be grateful, accept good things, be grateful, share. Repeat.
It really is this simple. Our petition is not what we offer on our knees, but is made known in how we treat others. Our devotion is not voiced with fancy words, but with what we share with others. Our worth is not determined by the things we have, but in remembering we, and everyone around us, are from and will return, to the Divine.
If you need a religion to remind you of this, please join a religion. If you need to let a charity, in exchange for your money, do charitable works on your behalf, by all means, give to a charity. If you need a teacher to make this more clear, sit under a teacher. If it helps to meditate, pray, or breath deeply, then do these things with frequency. Love does not require any of these, though some may find them necessary.
Your heart just beat again. You drew another breath. Enjoy. You must have more to accomplish. There must be at least one more good thing for you to enjoy. Be at peace and know that you are a both a product, and a creator, of love.