A Little Boy, and Jesus: From Loss to Love
By Christine Fine
Open the door! The windows! I cannot breathe. My lips have grown pale and drawn, my throat dry, my mind a spin with pain and sorrow, loss and envy. I have lost a relationship. A special relationship.
I go outside to walk away the sorrow in the park. Here, the sun shines, the music plays, the earth dances the glory of life.
Yet my heart is heavy. Must I look at this? Must I look at giving up what is familiar, that which has grown comfortable, that which gives me relief for a little while? What is left after relinquishment? Will there be pain forever? No chance of even a moment’s relief? To remain forever bereft—is this the fate of one who relinquishes that which is believed in, for that which is unknown? Will I be destroyed, if I give up the identity so familiar? I cannot look. I cannot look, and yet I must; something draws me there. What is this something, this attraction, this hunger?
A little boy cries. He is alone in the park and sobs on a picnic table. I enfold him and he drops, desolate, into my lap. His heart is torn. I don’t know why, only that he is in pain, and says he wants to die.
He cries his fill as I hold him close, rocking, kissing his hair. Oh, that I may take his pain from him; that the earth might take it from us all.
He breaks from me now, yet stays on my lap. He leaves his head on my shoulder close to my face, he puts his hand to my breast, sighs . . . and trembles his release. His dog has died.
After we talk, he looks up. His eyes are bright. He smiles the smile of a cherub. What song is this I hear? What soaring note draws my heart to hope? What entrancing instant enters, when our eyes now meet together? And what is it that widens my eyes and oh so greatly my heart, in this mystical moment of wonder? I kiss his cheek, cooled from the tears, and hold him close again.
Where You need me Holy Spirit, bring me Your challenges.
Bring me Your damaged souls, for they are my own self.
Let me hold Your Light, that I may feel Your glory passing through me to a world in pain.
May I feel the radiance of You, the thrill of You, as We join the Others in this power of Love.
This Holy Instant with the little boy guided me to you. I can breathe again, no longer bereft. The bright eyes of the boy are my very own.
Oh Holy day, Oh Holy Instant, when Christ was born.
(A friend later asked me a question: “What did you say to the little boy before he smiled?” Answer: “I told the little boy that there was a dog heaven. All the little dogs could run after a big truck with big wheels, and the truck was made all out of sliced ham and cheese. The dogs could run after the truck and even bite into it if they wanted to. That was dog heaven.” It’s what finally made him stop crying. It gave him the smile, that he gave to me, the beginning of that most beautiful and Holy Instant.)
I hadn’t loved since Jesus. In this lifetime, there were times when I thought that if I died in that moment, at least I had known true love. But those times faded, with hatred and disgust. The love wasn’t real, though grateful am I now to those I have loved, and who have loved me.
I never hated Jesus. He remained in my heart as the love of all love. I lost him not through betrayal but through death at the hands of men of his own faith. How dare they! How can this possibly be forgiven? How can such pain ever be healed? I couldn’t look at it, and I kept him in a far distant place from me. Yet always in the background he beckoned.
Doubt reigns my heart, strengthening my belief that this and all loss is true, not made up. Doubt that it ever happened—that his body suffered, though he did not. Doubt that my pain through these centuries has been for belief in the loss of him.
I can’t shake this loss. So I sit with it now. Accepting it. Allowing it. Allowing the tears to fall. So afraid have I been, to know love, to know Jesus, the symbol of this love; pushing him constantly away, denying him, repressing my Self. So afraid am I still. Crying, all day, crying.
Oh! The immensity of his love! I sob even now, believing in the loss of him who incarnated true love. I had not known it until him, and have not known it since, so afraid have I been of it’s light, the loss of which caused this endless pain.
Where can I go from here? Am I to conclude that I’ll never love like that again, because of my fear of losing It? No. There must be another way . . .
Later today . . . Out of the blue I am struck, during a most unlikely activity, washing dishes at the kitchen sink. Jesus is here. A symbol perhaps, but symbols can remind us of truth.
What holy symbol is this, this holy symbol called “Jesus”? In this moment of revelation this holy symbol speaks in my mind and whispers: “Follow me, as me; as the Christed Love of God. Together as One, even as symbols, we make real the Christ in all symbols.”
Do I have a choice now? Now that I have felt him again? No. I don’t want a choice. I can be only love. Because I want only love. My will, and the will of love, represented as Jesus, are One.
I’ll never forget the moment, just now, when I accepted the atonement—the correction—for myself. In a moment of fury and of devastation I received salvation.
In the world, I leaned over the sink, washing dishes. In the world it looked like that. In my feelings, it was Homecoming. My tears of sorrow turned to tears of grateful acceptance.
In the world, in my grief, when a little boy appeared, I could have ignored him or walked on by. But I decided to extend love to him. I found that through extending love, I experienced the Holy Instant where there is no lack, no loss. In that place, either all relationships are special, or none are. They are all holy, in that “place” that isn’t really a place. As I extended love to him, I realized that there can be no lack, no loss whatsoever.
How beautiful is love! What warmth is there! What peace, what joy, what elevated Self of form, of consciousness, of Christ. How simple yet how hard it truly is and has seemed.
Through understanding I come to love. And through love I come to understanding. Cause and effect are the same. Means and end are one.
Christine Fine lives and plays near Bend, Oregon, with an ACOL group she facilitates every Sunday. She loves writing and using the written word to transfer a feeling to the reader. If she could, she would convince everyone that, within the illusion, UFOs are real.
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Before the Party
By Paula Payne Hardin
All week the party’s on my mind
A reunion with close and aging friends
My home is small
As are all our homes these days
It’s a squeeze to get eight
Around the table
We’ve known each other many years
Buried parents, watched children grow and leave
Now there’s one who walks with braces
Another needs help getting out of the chair
Four are gluten free
Four like the old comfort foods
One is vegan
All of this presents a challenge for me
Our oldest is eighty-eight
This past year one had radical surgery
One is recovering from a stroke
The rest of us have this and that
But life is about far more than our woes
Tonight we will laugh, maybe weep
Find our hearts warmed, the love does not dim
We weary of politics and newspapers are mostly skimmed
We desire to befriend the earth and all creatures
To cultivate kindness each day
We are hungry for peace
And filled with gratitude for life
Some paint, some dance, some write, some tutor, some sing
How many more times around the table?
Who knows—but this one
Paula Payne Hardin appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show when her first book, “What Are You Doing With the Rest of Your Life? Choices in Midlife” appeared in 1992. She is also the author of “Love After Love: Stages of Loving” (1996). Hardin directed Midlife Consulting Services and the David K. Hardin Generativity Trust in Chicago. She has trekked around the world from the Himalayas to Zimbabwe. Now an Elder, she enjoys kayaking, cats, writing, and her extended family.