Little, big things.
I'd like to share one of the beliefs I've grown into during my time doing end-of-life work.
What we have--all that we have--to express the bigness of our love, is this tangible world.
This planet we live on, and the real and gritty and messy things in it--our time, the patterns of our daily lives, our actions, our communication, our bodies--our most effective vocabulary of love lies here, where we are. Little, big things. Little, big actions.
At Joseph's House, we say, "Small Acts, Great Love." That.
I spoke with a beloved human in my life about this the other night. At first, we felt stuck strategizing about how we "had to fit" love into the limitations of our daily lives.
It was as if the fabric of our daily lives was at odds with love.
Like many, I fall into this kind of tempting view a lot. Sometimes I end up developing a kind of loathing for this tangible world, and start seeking ways to escape from reality, including so-called spiritual ways. I've always dreamt of entering a spirit world, where we don't have to deal with the mundane and the crude and the cruel.
Of course--that somewhere else is not where I am. Here is where I am. And this place here doesn't have to be at odds with Huge Love. (In the moments I feel that way, it turns out that it's sweet little me who's at odds with it, and it usually has to do with pain.) This is our spirit world. That's one of the big things I've learned working with the dying.
I believe that this world, somewhere amidst its violence and disappointment, has the tools we need to show our love to ourselves and to others.
The brilliant game is to find them and use them.
When someone is dying, it's particularly apparent. A hot washcloth run slowly across the face; a bowl of ice cream; somebody making sure your toenails get cut--it's things like this that are pretty much what we have to work with. The grandiose and overly intellectual never adds up to the power of little tools of care. Never do I appreciate the simple things and the Bigness of Love we can express only through them, as much as when I'm with a dying person.
But the bulk of time in our lives is not spent dying. We can't afford to wait.
A close friend the other night relinquished her vote and agreed to watch what I wanted to watch on Netflix. Love! (Extra love because it was a vampire drama!)
The barista at the coffee shop remembered my dog's name. Love! Feeling seen and remembered and connected is Really Big, Spiritual Love.
We don't have to fit our love into our daily lives. We have to fit our daily lives into our Love. We have to use whatever we can, whenever we can, and make it work as best we can.
I guess, to me, it means paying attention, finding those tools like the questing heroes we are, and putting them to good use.
As often is the case, I think I'm writing this as a note to self, right now. Thanks for reading and letting me share.