The Blizzard has passed.  Morning has dawned.  A gentle light rises softly and slowly above the mountains.  A new day is here and with it hope and opportunity.

Light passing through the dark pulsar of outer space becomes visible when it encounters an object.  So it is too with spiritual light.  It becomes discernible when it kindles the heart and illuminates the mind.  I call it “dark light of love.” (Emphasis added.)

John S. Dunne, in Dark Light of Love

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My best childhood friend, George, is in a nursing home.  I have known him since we were two, our homes but one door apart.  His mother and my mother good friends and close confidants.  I was in George’s home as much as my own.  His brothers were my brothers.   I know his life like I know my own.

Yet, to me, his brother Jerry, and his long time friends, we wonder about his life, how he could have lived as he did – chosen as he did, held a course that injured him relentlessly – a long journey of isolation and conflict.

Bright and able as he was, he had a running battle with his father, with authority and he folded more and more deeply into a marriage to a woman who entered matrimony with a deeply ingrained resentment of the father who deserted her and her mother, and a bleak and consistent intention of experiencing George in the constant embers of her coals of anger and disregard.

I remember in a particularly turbulent time when I asked him: Why do you stay with her? His response, “Oh, I can’t leave her, I love her.”

I remember my confusion.  Is his love deeper than mine?  Is he sick?  Insane? Who loves one who hates and objects, and resents in return?

For years I have not understood this.

Alas, John Dunne gives me the answer.  To enkindle the dark light of love one must ignite the Spirit, must include a relationship with God – Yes, the Spirit and God are the condition precedent to love’s light, to love expressed as it is made, in its purity and eternity – lived in a healthy manner.

So many good people, like George, seek to love without the Spirit, without God – it cannot be done.  Short of the Spirit and God, love has no light, only bitter darkness and endless cold, and ceaseless pain and loneliness; it is then but a candle never let to flame.

We are as a culture profoundly destructive for thinking that we might love, or be wise or fully human without the Spirit, without God.  Alas, let George and John Dunne teach us this lesson.

Shalom.

Note – We often hear reassuring stories about people helping one another when there is a disaster in places like New York City, but, Ladies and Gentlemen, I am here to tell you that neighbor helping neighbor is commonplace in the South, in the country … in Texas and the heartland of small farming towns.  The best of us is not cosmopolitan but rather in the every day of the heartland – the America that the “important” people forget except to disdain. 

I know this in three feet of snow and drifts even higher – people help one another – as God would expect of us.  This is America at its very best.  Thank God for it.

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