Friday, December 9, 2011

Cymbals of Love

Evidence that we are loved is not always as obvious as a clanging cymbal... 
sometimes it is just a feeling of contentment from within, without a specific 'reason'.
A dozen red roses - Quick, what comes to mind?
That someone wants the recipient to know he or she is loved?
..... or perhaps that the giver is in the doghouse and repenting of some misdeed?

Our world is filled with precious symbols and reminders of love -- from a carpet of colorful wildflowers showing us love on a divine scale, to an I <3 U mug full of Hershey's kisses anonymously left in our cubicle... from a message strewn across the sky for all to see, to a simple silent pat on the knee.  We all appreciate these tangible, visible proofs of affection.  But what if someone lacks outward displays of affection?  Does that mean they must live a life without love?

Hardly... and that is because the love is not IN the symbol used to show it.  Love is in our hearts -- the hearts of both giver and receiver.  And so it can no more be taken from us, anymore than our loved ones'  affection can be taken away once the flowers they've given us have withered and been tossed in the rubbish bin.

This idea is not limited to romantic affection only.  This morning, a dear one was explaining to me how some work she'd arranged to have done on a property was taking longer than it should and, as a result, would end up costing her a lot of money, since she would not be able to rent the property as quickly and thus not have the income from the rent she could charge.  We have all been in similar situations.  They can be stressful and frustrating and sometimes all-consuming.

I thought for a moment about her situation.  Everything she said made perfect practical sense..... Then I thought a bit more deeply to get to the real root of the issue.
OK so why would she want the work done more quickly?  To be able to get the place rented.... to be able to get the income from renting it.... In other words, to have more money.  And what good would more money do her?  Well, she would not be so strapped financially.  She would have cash to pay bills, buy Christmas presents, shop for a nice holiday outfit, go out on the town without having to count her pennies, and put a little away in savings.

I went still deeper.... Why would she want all those things... What would they do for her?  Well, the extra money would take away stress and give her greater peace of mind.  It boosts our literal sense of self-worth and esteem to be caught up on our bills.  It makes us feel good to show our love to others by giving them gifts picked out specially for them.  We feel like a million bucks when we get to dress up in a smart new outfit. It is freeing and validating to be able to go out socially without the worry of financial restraint looming overhead; and having some money in savings lets us breathe easy and enables us to be less apprehensive about the future because we are at least somewhat financially prepared.

So, among other things, money is a symbol of the way we want to feel... that is a topic too irresistible not to discuss in depth.... but later.... For now I merely want to point to its relevance to our example.  In essence, my friend wanted that extra money because of the way it would ultimately make her feel, as described above.  Yes, money is a wonderful symbol of love, but it is just that.... a symbol.  What if you could have the love, the peace of mind, the sense of incredible well-being without the money?

I have less money and 'stuff' than I have ever had in my life.... and I have never been happier or felt more secure.  Why?  Because instead of money, that lovely symbol of love, I have the Love itself -- the love that no robber or stock market crash can take away... the kind of value and worth that is not only permanent, it compounds daily.  This is better than the gold standard.  It is the LOVE standard.  I am finding that my happiness has nothing to do with having more stuff or money or even a romantic relationship; rather I have less want and need, because I am already full up with love.

And so I would tell anyone struggling with lack this season, whether it is lack of funds or affection, to turn away from the symbols of love in favor of going to the source, which is always within.  You will find you are overflowing with love, and you will find ways to both give and receive it.... and that is true economy!

with so much love,

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