I open and fill with love and other objects evaporate.
Every word I say opens into mystery.
Any way I turn I see brilliance.
– Rumi –
I had one of those moments recently that stops everything. Feels like I am watching from outside myself. Really in its kindness the universe basically is saying: Hey! Take note. Really see this. This is for you. In this case I was standing at the top of the stairs in my house, my little grandson had just been with us to come and tell something quickly, he had said bye and ran down the stairs. Then he abruptly stopped and ran straight back up again and threw his arms around me in a huge bear hug. I returned the hug with interest and afterwards thought how lucky, how blessed I was. But also, that I was so undeserving of such affection.
Now that made me remember years ago when a dear sister-in-law and I had been as is usual for us, discussing life and love. We had had somewhat similar childhoods, not overflowing with overt love and so for both of us it was not always simple to navigate loving and being loved but, in that moment, she said that she felt me to be a loved sister. I remember clearly how I stood in the kitchen and heard the words but I didn’t respond. It was as if she had invited me out onto the ice and I did not want to put my weight on it, did not feel able to trust it. Of course, later I could and did say how much I appreciated hearing that, how much she meant to me, that I too loved her and was so lucky to have such a sister in my life.
Going through my days recently with these things on my mind I recalled something that happened 10 years ago. My son was home visiting, and he and his beloved were leaving on a big big trip up to the Kalahari. The car was all packed, we had said our goodbyes and they were off…but the car stopped, and my son got out and came to give another goodbye hug. I had been busy taking pics of the big setting off, so I was so lucky to have this beautiful image of his happy face!
I can see that the fact that I feel undeserving of love kept me from experiencing it when it was happening, from accepting it when it was offered. I did that very destructive thing of blaming people in the present for what had happened in the past. So, my poor husband had to bear the burden of having, in essence, to prove that his love was love in order to make up for the pain in my childhood. All too often I was keeping a sharp look out for evidence that I was not loved instead of noticing the love that was there.
And so I have given time and thought to note and remember the times I was loved , the times I am loved, to count the ways and the moments.
When my daughter phones to ask : Are you ok?? because her dad and I had gone swimming, came home , changed and went out again and so she got a fright and thought we had never come back! That is love. My sister-in-law saying: Thanks thanks Mrs Tittlemouse! That is love. My friend who is far away mailing me several times a week and an extra when I have something difficult coming up. That is love. My dentist hugging me and urging me to read a book that moved him. That is love. My son keeping a constant sharp eye on my recalcitrant backup system. That is love. My husband making my first cup of coffee of the day AND cooking my oats. That is love. My grandson bringing me a new pencil and a book that helps with crossword puzzles. That is love. My son on facetime saying: Let’s talk Silo! That is love.
And when I am swimming and the light ripples on the water and a cormorant pops up next to me and a stranger on a kayak calls out to say good morning and my heart swells with happiness…that is love.
A lover is one who waters a garden
from the rain barrel that fills under his own roof.
– Rumi –