“I have found the paradox that if I love until it hurts, then there is no hurt, but only more love.”St. Theresa of Calcutta
Many of us search for joy and never truly find it. We strive for things this world tells us will make us happy and we come up empty. Fulfillment remains absent and we wonder what will fill us with this joy or make us happy.
Recently, I was listening to an audio of “The Great Divorce,” by C.S. Lewis. Towards the end of the book there is a scene with a little lady, Sara Smith, and a dwarf, who appears to be a close acquaintance of hers, chained to another ghostly figure. Unlike the dwarf who holds a chain, the little lady is truly filled with a radiance of joy. This fulfillment comes from the total and complete love of God. She goes on to tell the dwarf to put aside all things that happened on earth and describes her current status of being in love. At this point the dwarf questions her love for him in which her response is “what we call love down there is the craving to be loved”. The book describes love on earth as something we as individuals need, that it is not the truest of love. Real love is to surrender to this deep love of God, not wanting anything else. In other words, not needing to be loved by another but to love unselfishly.
As I listened, I sat there trying to imagine myself surrendering all my wants and needs to be loved, desiring only to love the Creator and all of His creation.
What are the chains I am holding on to? Is it even possible for human nature to desire to love and not be loved? Is it possible for me?
As I pondered these questions, my mind drew upon the imagery of the ocean. It is as vast as the eye can see, yet what is most visible is the waves that crash fiercely upon the shore. These waves remind me of all things that cause constant turmoil, things I cling to that crash and disturb the peace in my life, eroding the banks of my heart, just as the water erodes the shore line as it blasts inward and then retreats. As you gaze out to the farthest point the eye can see, the water appears to be much calmer, more peaceful, as if the center like the eye of a hurricane is at its calmest state. I view this image like my own heart. Love at the center is at its purest because this is the place within me where God resides. This is the area in which I draw joy and happiness from. The outer influences are the things that want to erode this space of joy.
How do I prevent the erosion and remain in complete fulfillment?
To desire to love and not to be loved!
Could you image a world where everyone only desired to love and cared nothing about being loved? There truly would be no chains attaching us to anything. Freedom would be at its greatest and joy would radiate the faces of all.
Unfortunately, this is not the world we live in and very few people achieve this status of spiritual freedom by desiring to love God so fully, surrendering their own need to be loved. There is one role model in our present day that exhibited this immense desire to love without any expectation, St. Theresa of Calcutta. She discovered this paradox of love – to “love until it hurts, then there is no hurt, but only more love”.
To love like this requires vulnerability and surrender. God is waiting to fill each of us until our hearts are overflowing but we have to first desire to love unselfishly, surrendering our need to be loved.
Are you ready to accept the invitation?
Lord, I lay my heart open so that You may fill it. I pray for the desire to love all people and all things unselfishly. I pray that You may protect the erosion of my heart from the influences of this world. May I love so much it hurts because only then will I experience the power of your immense love, fulfilling all crevices within me. Amen