Love is all and everything
“In the evening of life, we will be judged on love alone.”
—St. John of the Cross
Miroslav Volf, a professor and Christian theologian at Yale University, teaches a popular class entitled, “A Life Worth Living: A Guide to What Matters the Most,” now a New York Times bestseller. Volf poses the question: What constitutes a worthy life and how do we go about accomplishing it.
A popular modern vision for a good life is one that is long, healthy, and happy. Our culture champions the feel good, live long mission. I would be lying if I said a “long, healthy, happy life” was not included in my prayers. But it’s simply not a big enough prayer or vision for this one precious life. There must be a grander reason for God giving me breath and a soul. A life focused predominantly on myself and whether I am healthy, happy, and live long, wonderful as that would be, ultimately will let me down. There isn’t a set operating manual for achieving a worthy life. There have certainly been spiritual guides such as Buddha, Mohammad, Paul, and Jesus who have shown us worthy paths. But finally, we will have to figure it out for ourselves. One’s intuitive soul actually knows what is right, true, and holy. It recognizes when our external life is out of joint with True North. Jesus warned about gaining the whole world at the expense of losing everything that matters.
Sometimes life presents us with a “soul shock,” an evil stab of the heart (like the recent tragedy in Nashville) that wakes us up again to another reality. We are given the opportunity to connect again with the mysterious supernatural voice of truth within that calls us to higher things. I have spent the last six weeks in the terrible trenches of loss. There I have found my answer to how to live a worthy life. It all comes down to living for someone or something larger than myself. We are made to take risks for love. God took a supreme risk for love sending his son into this broken world, knowing it aimed to destroy him. Mary took a risk for love saying Yes to being Jesus’s mother, intuiting it would break her heart one day. Jesus took a monumental risk for love. He gave his very life for us. Love calls you out of your comfort zone, dares you be brave, makes you give up a tiny part of your soul. When we love from the delicate, purest part of our being, anything is possible. A long, healthy, happy life can not measure up to the immensity of giving freely the best of yourself to another.
I have witnessed this over and over again since the Covenant tragedy: the miracle of people doing the impossible for love. Life became holier right before my weeping eyes.
This week I stood by my friend to bless, anoint, pray, and say goodbye to her beloved husband. I am certain a court of angels came out for his celestial homecoming. Although much too short, his whole life was about making personal sacrifices for love. He knew love was all and everything. Maybe it’s tomorrow, two years, or fifty years from now, but the final day in the Book of Life will come for each of us. May our spirits release with no regrets, because we took a risk on love.