What I hope to convey in this entry is yet another attempt to describe the indescribable of which poems have been written and songs have been sung. The word in question is simply “love.” The dictionary defines love as a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person. It also indicates that it is a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child or friend. However, based on some of my personal experiences as a chaplain serving in various medical centers and psychiatric hospitals, I hope to draw the reader’s attention to perhaps consider how it is that we as humans seem to struggle with loving others and loving ourselves.
As a hospital chaplain, I have had the opportunity to hear stories from patients relating things they have never told anyone else. These remarkable human beings have discovered a safe place to recount experiences that often occurred beyond their physical existence. The first time I listened to a patient describe their near death experience, I knew the ground upon which I stood was holy. After this account was told to me, the patient indicated that she had never told it to anyone. When I asked why, she told me she thought others would think she was crazy having lost her mind. I thanked her for placing her trust in me and that I would carry her story with utmost respect and care and that I believed her. The expression on her face communicated a sense of relief and love.
What is and where does love come from? If you have had any contact with people of faith and their familiarity with scripture you may have heard the phrase, “God is love.” What exactly does that phrase mean? As I have considered this and other questions related to love, allow me to share my thoughts related to such questions. First of all, God, or however one wants to describe this power that is far greater than myself and in my finite understanding, believes God to be the sum total of all that is, whether visible or invisible. I believe God not only exists but contains all that exists. I believe God is Spirit ultimately expressing knowledge, understanding and wisdom within what I understand to be Love.
Borrowing the words of the Apostle Paul from I Corinthians chapter 13, also known as the love chapter, “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” I believe this is an accurate description of God. I also hold to the belief that each one of us are made in the image and likeness of this God of Love.
As I have listened to near death experience testimonies one expression consistently surfaces. What is described is their awareness and sense of being drawn toward an unconditional love energy. As I considered this expression, the question came to me as to how these travelers were able to identify this energy field as unconditional love? It didn’t seem to matter where on planet earth they had lived, when they left their bodies they were able to recognize and describe love’s energy field as unconditional. We all recognize the familiar and they all recognized unconditional love because it is where they came from. If it is true that we all came from and are made from unconditional love then such an understanding will figure in to additional questions.
How in the world can Love beings made in the image and likeness of Love treat one another with such disdain? How is it that human beings often seek to lord over one another taking advantage through fear? How is it that we have the capacity to mistreat one another and when this behavior is not put in check can ultimately rob the other of their physical life? How do we as humans create such implements of destruction for the sole purpose of threatening one another because we are so power hungry?
As I have considered these questions, I have come to one conclusion. We have forgotten who we really are and where we really came from. We have collectively lost sight of the God of Love and the unconditional love energy from which we were made. Our ignorance is our undoing. Jesus came to this world in order to “show us the Father.” We as humans projected our own wrath onto God claiming it was God’s wrath toward us. We sought to control each other by insisting that this God of wrath was hell bent on destroying us if we didn’t behave the way we were told we should.
I am convinced that Love not only wins but has won! The realization of what was included in Jesus’ final saying from the cross has overwhelmed my thinking. To begin to grasp what is included in his final saying, “It is finished” may offer the reader the hope that will guide us all to remember just who we are in Christ Jesus. As long as we utilize our five senses, sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste to understand the Spirit, we will fall short every time. Reach out with your spirit of which you have the capacity to communicate with the God of Love. Rely on the Christ who gave himself so you could remember where you came from and to whom you belong. In doing so the Spirit of Truth will guide you and life will never be the same again!