Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Courage to Love (My Sacred Life, Thanksgiving edition)

It is the day we in the USA celebrate, through overconsumption and gluttony, the arrival of yet another holiday season.

Don't get me wrong--I'm not at all opposed to eating really good food, and my wife is marvelously talented at producing it. I'm fully in favor of a day when we pause and give thanks for our blessings. My concern is that we may have wandered a bit from what the intent was when the holiday was created almost 150 years ago.

Sure, there is the feast of the Pilgrims to point to back in 1621, but Thanksgiving did not become an officially recognized holiday until Abe Lincoln made it so in 1863. It was the unstinting efforts of Sarah Josepha Hale, the leading activist/author/poet/editor of her time, which finally bore fruit. The letter you see here convinced the president to back legislation before Congress to formalize the third national holiday the country established. Ms Hale spent two decades working toward this outcome.

It would be interesting to see what she would think of the holiday today, when the big event for many of us is not today, but tomorrow's massive effort by retailers both on the internet and in the malls to grab what they can from the pockets of a populace still greatly shaken by the worst economic climate since the 1930's.

I won't pretend to speak for her.

In my heart, I feel a tremendous burden of sorrow for those who will be giving thanks today without a beloved member of their family who was lost in Iraq or Afghanistan. The horrible fact that we, as Americans, are still unable to make it clear to our leaders that we are tired of a set of wars which were never about our security really hits home today as we get closer to hearing from our president that even more must die. Make no mistake: if we send 30,000 more of our young men and women to that part of the world, there will be more deaths.

In my soul, I know the everlasting evidence for hope and hold that hope as a young one clutches a favorite doll or blanket to her chest. It is all going to be okay because it is all okay right now. I won't be attempting to explain that to anyone who lost a spouse or offspring, brother or sister, and feels that loss in a most-powerful way today. But it is the core of my willingness to keep my head up and put one foot in front of the other, even in the face of the nightmare world we see today.

What hurts the most is that we all know, deep down, the answer to every problem, every war, every disagreement over what to bring for dessert to the extended-family Thanksgiving celebration.


It is not only the answer, it is the very life inside us all. Love, celebrated and yet not employed. Radiating Love is a built-in capability we all possess. Were we all to start using this tool, to start simply sharing the love inside us with All That Is, all of these seemingly intractable issues would melt faster than a May snow in Denver.

It takes courage, though, to be open and vulnerable. For, you see, that's how you radiate Love. You open your arms wide, throw your head back with eyes closed and a wide smile on your face, and you love for all your worth. Love is not just a concept. It is action, a courageous action taken in the face of all evidence which would scare any sensible person into seeking a safe place to hide.

Love expressed in this way is the big-L Love. It is the life force coming into us, and then broadcast from our souls back to the Universe which offers it to all of us, all the time.

When it feels as if there is not enough Love in the world, it means we are falling down on the job.

Even if it is just for 30 seconds today, please get up from the couch or push back from the table, and radiate Love. We have the power to fix all that is broken, and it is up to us to acknowledge it and get about our business.

Be a warrior for Love and show your courage. It is perfectly alright to be courageous in the privacy of the bathroom or out in your backyard after dark. Do it, though. Radiate Love today.

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