The Experience Of Love, from the Inward Journey, by Howard Thurman

There is a steady anxiety that surrounds [our] experience of love. Sometimes the radiance of love is so soft and gentle that [we see ourselves] with all harsh lines wiped away and all limitations blended with strengths in so happy a combination that strength seems to be everywhere and weakness is nowhere to be found.…Sometimes the radiance of love blesses a life with a vision of its possibilities never before dreamed of or sought, stimulating new endeavor and summoning all latent powers to energize the life at its inmost core.

But there are other ways by which love works its perfect work. [Love] may stab the spirit by calling forth a bitter, scathing self-judgment. The heights to which it calls may seem so high that all incentive is lost and the individual is stricken with an utter hopelessness and despair.…It is at such times that one expects love to be dimmed under the mistaken notion that love is at long last based upon merit and worth.

Behold the miracle! Love has no awareness of merit or demerit; it has no scale by which its portion may be weighed or measured. It does not seek to balance giving and receiving. Love loves; this is its nature.… [T]here is robust vitality that quickens the roots of personality, creating an unfolding of the self that redefines, reshapes, and makes all things new. Such an experience is so fundamental in quality that an individual knows that what is happening…can outlast all things without itself being dissipated or lost.

…No created thing, no single unit of life, can be the source of such fullness and completeness. For in the experience itself [we are] caught and held by something so much more than [we] can ever think or be that there is but one word by which its meaning can be encompassed—God. Hence the Psalmist says that as long as the love of God shines on us undimmed, not only may no darkness obscure but also we may find our way to a point in other hearts beyond all weakness and all strength, beyond all that is good and beyond all that is evil. There is no such thing outside ourselves, no circumstance, no condition, no vicissitude, that can ultimately separate us from the love of God and from the love of one another. And we pour out our gratitude to God that this is so!

21 May 2018

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