Love Does That
A Reflection on Love
Suzanne Cain

All day long a little burro labors, sometimes
with heavy loads on her back and sometimes just with worries
about things that bother only

And worries, as we know, can be more exhausting
than physical labor.

Once in a while a kind monk comes
to her stable and brings
a pear, but more
than that,

he looks into the burro’s eyes and touches her ears

and for a few seconds the burro is free
and even seems to laugh,              

 because love does

Love frees.

-Meister Eckhart

I can’t say that I have had any experience with burros.  I’m recalling old westerns I watched with my grandfather, where the burros or donkeys were bringing up the rear of a caravan of cowboys and homesteaders as they traversed across prairies and mountains.  They were the most weighed down creatures with equipment and supplies needed for the journey.  Although appreciated for their strength, donkeys aren’t known for their sleek good looks and elegant power.  They are small in stature and their weathered appearance reveals a life of hard work – maybe some neglect.  The least of these, you might say.  

What do you suppose worries a burro?  Does she worry about being cared for and fed?  Does she worry whether anyone will check the condition of her shoes?  Shoes are very important!  No doubt she is concerned about her children and their well-being.  Can she protect them and herself from the elements and other predators?  How many more journeys does she even have left in her?  

Every minute of every day we have choices. Some days we are masterful at managing them all.  Some days our drive and fortitude to take on a challenge of choices thrusts us on.  Sprinkled in our challenge of choices calls forth worry and anxiety that rise with us as the day begins.  Fear begins to cloud what was once clear and unrealistic comparisons steal our joy.  Our false self suggests that we are lacking – keeping us from living into our fullest humanity.    

David Benner says the only way to truly care for ourselves is to give ourselves in love of others. There is where we find our truest and deepest fulfillment. Love is what makes us human. Love is who we are. One of the mysteries of love is that it breaks through in countless ways bringing life and freedom to both the giver and receiver. Freedom to live as we were created and freedom from marrow deep burden if just for a moment.

To live is to let love well up and stream through us as the beat, pulse, and rhythm of our lives, connecting us to ourselves, our neighbors, the whole family of earth’s creatures, and God. . . . To love is to be seeking, fostering, and sustaining connections with that which is different and other – without domination, absorption, or fusion, in delight, in care, in compassion.  
—James Olthuis, 
The Beautiful Risk: A New Psychology of Loving and Being Loved

Love settles all that seems to be in disarray.   Love comes when we need it the very most.  Maybe it is simply a random act of kindness – a word of encouragement, a note of solidarity, a call of peace, a touch of hope, an embrace of “I see you.” 

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