“Love bears all things…”
A few nights ago, I sat on the edge of one of my son’s bed. The next morning he would embark on a great escapade—his first plane trip and without us! Not only this, but a new precedent will be set for how long our family has spent apart.
Quietly, this night, we were just sitting in the calm dark before the dawn of what all of this actually meant. Recognizing we really had no idea, we began our ascent—our attempt of wrapping our minds about it all—by speaking about the rhythm of his coming weeks. Much is set to change but one thing in his every upcoming week will mark a space in time that he knows by heart—sabbath.
It is a day on which we are called upon to share in what is eternal in time, to turn from the results of creation to the mystery of creation; from the world of creation to the creation of the world.”
― Abraham Joshua Heschel, The Sabbath
We spoke of how even it will look and feel different than what he knows here at our home, but the core of it would remain. This was the day, I instructed him, that he would exhale and “carry no burdens”. This would be the day every week that would carry him.
There will be new concerns, new joys, new responsibilities, new freedoms, new questions, new answers! But. when evening closes in on the sixth night and the embryo of eternity in time comes knocking on the door of his mind, heart, and body…say hello, my son, say hello!
“Say goodbye to the week, it’s worries and cares, release your burdens and know then that Love is present and ready to carry them.” Even as I was speaking the words to him I knew then, better than I ever had before, that each sabbath he practiced remembering that, then each day he would be that much closer to holding it’s truth as his own, and so would I.
I went to bed, but my heart had been awakened. I awoke in the house of Adonai knowing burdens are not meant to be borne alone, that’s why we must know, Love bears all things!
Boom. My mind was awash with beauty and opened wide like a sprawling canyon, gaping magnificence was stretching across the edges of my soul, vast and generous in breadth and depth. The words had transformed…it was no longer, the self-imposed, (imprisoned) “Raynna, in order to be loving, you must bear and ‘put up with’ every etc. etc. blah, blah, blah…”
No, these words about what is to be borne were no longer about me, they were for me. These words about love, are about Who Love is.
Love bears all things. Yes, this is an instruction, but not the one we often think it is. This is an invitation—like I was giving my son—to be still and know, to profoundly experience that in loving we learn we are not alone.
To be like Love, we learn what is ours to carry and what is not. In loving, we are often pressed to our limits, but not to destroy us. Love comes to teach us that at the edge of our limits is not the end. At the edge, we learn The Beginning and The End, The True and Faithful, The Eternal One.
At the edge, we learn freedom. In fact, we can learn freedom in all of the places that we are at first tempted to think have come to ensnare us, dare I say, burden us, all while Love’s hand is extended, ready to bear our burdens and unshackle our eyes.
Today, if you see glimpses and threads of the fabric of this reality we are wrapped within in our world, of the way the Eternal One plants the seeds of eternity in the hearts of humanity, hold it close, and pray for more, even if it means that today you offer the sacrifice of praise.
The truth about love is in sabbath and in sunrise, it is in pain and bliss alike.
This week, in truth, I find the sting of the seeds of eternity being planted in my heart, and me in It’s heart, even in grief, in loss, and in letting go. At one moment, while standing knee deep in the river, feeling the current move around my legs, the water of the river struck me as tears.
This thought roused me, and the water that passed me by seemed no longer separate from me but rather apart of me, it was my grief, and yours. It was the grief of the whole world and I was mesmerized by its clarity as I stood in the midst of it.
I was no longer on the shore peering in, I was within. On the shore, the surface of the waters is like glass reflecting the sky and all that surrounds it—the emerald and mahogany of the trees, the blinding white of the passing clouds. Yet, standing in the midst of the water, your vision becomes somehow, miraculously, one with the current, your vision cuts through the surface without effort. The sunlight cuts through too, you see its rays rippling and playing on the rocks beneath.
In all of this sublimity, what words can I use to tell you of the wonder when we lay our bodies down, on the water, when we float and let the river carry us, when we become weightless and bear no burden, learning what it means to be borne.
Love bears all things. These are words to call our attention beyond ourselves, deeper into the River of Life, living waters—not observing ours or another’s grief from the shore, stepping into our griefs, seeing through them, light playing all around us, inviting us all to rest.
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
—Yeshua miNatzrat (Jesus of Nazareth), Matthew 11:28-30
Sometimes I wonder at how familiar the river can seem and how, all at once, I logically recognize that the same water that passed around me a moment ago is not the same water around me now. It is new, over and over, continually new!
“No river can return to its source, yet all rivers must have a beginning.” – American Indian Proverb
This past week this did not only confound me, I recognized it saddened me. It’s hard to say good-bye, even to water. Here today, evaporated tomorrow. I realized the phrase we read so often in the Scriptures, “living waters” means a great deal more than I’ve let it hold space for inside of my own soul.
I’ve let it mean that it gives me life, it gives, it gives, it gives! This is true, but only because it is continually taking away. We must all choose to be gathered by this truth in our daily lives or be scattered by it, but only one of those realities will be true.
So if you find yourself this week, somewhere knowing this truth but fighting it, know this with me: the living waters will both give and take, and this is precisely not our burden to bear, as much as it is never a miracle we could produce. It is for us to bless the name of the Lord, He who bears all things.
And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” —Job 1:21
My friends, the immensity of pain being sustained by so many of you is incalculable, thank you for letting me be a traveler with you. My hope is that you will feel a companionship in these words I’m sending out to you. I am releasing my burdens, with you, and singing along to a song by Matisyahu (Breathe Easy) often lately,
“I am yours, you are mine
There’s no reason, there’s no rhyme
There’s no logic in these lines
It’s above this space in time
It’s above all of our minds…”
On the Sabbath, in honor of the Lord of the Sabbath, we light two candles and like two wings descended upon us we are enlivened to fly through the night.
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