Love after Love

“The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again
the stranger who was yourself

Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.” – Love after Love, by Derek Walcott

Someone dear and close to my family has left us suddenly on Sunday. I only found out about it this evening. Depression has claimed yet another life too soon. I dedicate this poem, ‘Love after Love’ by Derek Walcott, to LC.

And this poem is also for the rest of us who have known pain, the quiet struggle behind closed doors, the thirst and hunger of the heart, the longing for Home, and the welcome to stay. Remember,

“You were created to love and be loved.
People need other people.
Your story is important.
Better days are ahead.
Hope and help are real.

You are not alone.
And this is not the end of your story.” – TWLOHA, www.twloha.com

Will you trade Death for Life?

Love, Mish

FB: https://www.facebook.com/theloveculture

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“The Growth of one blesses all. I am committed to grow in Love.” – Julia Cameron

Take that leap of Faith: OWN your disgrace, to experience Real GRACE

graceinthemidstofdisgrace

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“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

The Love Culture on FB: https://www.facebook.com/theloveculture

BEGIN AGAIN…

We are SEVEN Days into the New Year 2015. A friend of mine shared that it feels as if there isn’t any difference, just another day as life continues. For some of us, we may feel this to be true, too. But for those of us who’s been dealt with difficult circumstances and painful losses at the start of the year, we may wish this is true.

But for ALL of us, here’s what is true, as well: Whatever we may be going through, there is New Grace for each New Day.

The question is, what is Grace? That’s my question coming into this New Year. I’ve decided to make it a personal journey of discovering for myself what GRACE means in each and every day, in all that happens, in everything that is unfolding, and in all that I do—in the heart of Life. So far, I am learning that Grace is a huge part of being Whole and Wholeheartedness.

“To live by grace means to acknowledge my whole life story, the light side and the dark. In admitting my shadow side I learn who I am and what God’s grace means.” – Brennan Manning.

Whatever life stories you may have been living, experiencing and carrying forth from the past into the present, may Grace awaken you to a New Wholesome Story—your WHOLE-STORY—not just the light side or the dark, but the gentle and gradual integration and acceptance of both. It is a process. It is a daily thing. It is to be lived.

And one way to experience Grace, is to simply Begin Again. Being present in the Present.

I leave you with a beautiful and timely reminder I received on the 1st day of 2015: “Don’t let Tomorrow, rob you of Today. Don’t let what you want to do in the New Year, rob you of Today. Don’t let a poor ending to 2014 or years past, rob you of the Blessing. Begin Again,” Rinda – www.listeninginn.org Wishing you New Grace for the New Year 2015 and So Much Love, Mish — The Love Culture www.facebook.com/theloveculture www.theloveculture.wordpress.com

**** “Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb The Love Culture on FB: https://www.facebook.com/theloveculture

“Hope can sometimes be an elusive thing, and occasionally it must come to us with pain.” – Gerald G. May, ‘Addiction & Grace’

On the seventh day of this month, we took a long walk to our destination. On our way there, we encountered a stray, of the human kind.

From afar, I was struck by his skin, smeared in black, and the way his torn t-shirt was draped to the side like a monk’s orange robe.

The scowl on his face and the way he was striding forth commands you to get out of his way.

Even so, a part of me wanted to stop him and to speak with him. But I traced his right bared arm to his hand, clenched tightly around a bottle of liquor, now empty. I feared he could hit me with it.

So I stood aside, he stalked right by, and the sudden stench of sewage overpowered the air, trailing his misery.

STRAY
I slipped my hand into the hand of the one I was walking with, and held on tight.

“Why, are you scared? Do you fear that man?” he asked.

No. I was looking for comfort. I was thinking about how tightly that man was holding on to his bottle. An empty bottle. It was his lifeline. His only way of numbing his pain. I feel pity for him… his outer condition is a reflection of his inner condition, and it’s clear he’s in a very, very bad state…

Google defines Pity as “the feeling of sorrow and compassion caused by the sufferings and misfortunes of others.” I believe this feeling of sorrow and compassion can only arise from having once recognised ourselves, in them.

I remember only too well, a time in my life when I, too, felt lost and “homeless”. In my time of wandering, I identified with the beggars and the strays on the streets. It was a humbling time of transitioning, where I was brought to my knees by the awareness of my own ‘drunken stupor’ from my various addictions.

I was a human in need of grace.

“Grace is the invisible advocate of freedom and the absolute expression of perfect love.

…grace seeks us but will not control us. Saint Augustine once said that God is always trying to give good things to us, but our hands are too full to receive them. If our hands are full, they are full of the things to which we are addicted.

And not only our hands, but also our hearts, minds and attention are clogged with addiction. Our addictions fill up the spaces within us, spaces where grace might flow…

…we may not be able to make our hands completely empty in order to receive the gifts of grace, but we can choose whether to relax our hands a little or to keep clenching them ever more tightly.

…simply relaxing one’s hands may seem too passive. As we shall see, however, this simple choice may be the greatest kind of struggle any human being can face, and it may call forth the greatest courage and dedication…

…We may go through a great deal of humbling, if not outright humiliation, before we come to this simplicity of hope. We do not like admitting defeat, and we will struggle valiantly, even foolishly, to prove that we can master our destinies.

God, in whose image we are made, instills in us the capacity for relentless tenacity, an assertiveness that complements our yearning hunger for God. But most of us overdo it; our spirit of assertiveness quickly becomes a spirit of pride.

We will never really turn to God in loving openness as long as we are handling things well enough by ourselves. And it is precisely our most powerful addictions that cause us to defeat ourselves, that bring us to the rock bottom realization that we cannot finally master everything.

Thus, although in one sense addiction is the enemy of grace, it can also be a powerful channel for the flow of grace.

Addiction can be, and often is, the thing that brings us to our knees.

…it is possible that at some point in our journey with addiction and grace, we might even come to see addiction as a kind of gift.

…Addictions teaches us not to be too proud. Sooner or later, addiction will prove to us that we are not gods.

Then we will realize that we are our own worst enemies; we cannot beat ourselves. At that point, when we have exhausted all the available false repositories for our hope, it is possible that we will turn to God with a true sense of who we are, with an integrity that is both humble and confident, with a dignity that knows itself because it has met its limits.

Hope can sometimes be an elusive thing, and occasionally it must come to us with pain.

But it is there, irrevocably. Like freedom, hope is a child of grace, and grace cannot be stopped. I refer once more to Saint Paul, a man who, I am convinced, understood addiction: “Hope will not be denied, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts.” – Gerald G.May, ‘Addiction & Grace’.

Love,

Mish.

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“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

The Love Culture on FB: https://www.facebook.com/theloveculture