"Imagine all the people,
Living life in peace....
You may say that I'm a dreamer
but I'm not the only one.
I hope someday you will join us,
and the world can live as one."
I love this original John and Yoko video for "Imagine." It is a song that I believe speaks to an imperative promise...and not a distant dream. Poet and lyricist, William Knapp once wrote,
"The one far-off divine event is now.
And that event is Love."
Today, these are the thoughts I am holding to in defense of my heart...and the collective heart of humanity.
Gunfire at a community event, anger across the dinner table, violent wretching over the toilet...intolerance for the views of "the other side", misunderstanding, self-loathing, complaint, criticisim, judgment. Enough!!
There was a time when "all the world"...or at least almost everyone I knew...told me that I had every right to be hurt, angry, to give up, feel bereaved, and seek redress.
I remember thinking, "How is it that their love for me is giving them (my loved ones) permission to be so unlike themselves. To be so unlike the incredibly generous, compassionate, kind, and loving people they are by their very nature as children of God."
I then realized, that I had to love them enough to NOT believe that this kind of empathy was what I needed. I remember thinking that it was my own belief in my need for "sympathy" that was the back door to "symptoms" of depression, hopelessness, heart-ache, and fear-based agony about the future.
The second stanza of Mary Baker Eddy's poem, "The New Century" (found in her slim volume Poems, became my constant companion:
"'Tis writ on earth, on leaf and flower:
Love hath one race, one realm, one power.
Dear God! how great,
how good Thou art.
To heal humanity's sore heart;
To probe the wound, then pour the balm -
A life perfected, strong and calm.
The dark domain of pain and sin
Surrenders - Love doth enter in,
And peace is won,
and lost is vice:
Right reigns, and blood was not its price."
Yesterday I found the tattered slip of yellowed notebook paper I had written this snippet of poetry on in 1988. I'd carried it tucked into the back of a journal that I used for recording my thoughts. During a particularly aggressive bout with self-pity, I'd turned to it often, fingering its soft folds and letting the strength of its admonition steel my resolve. I've carried it in my heart...memorized like a Psalm...ever since.
I realized then, and again now, that when Love enters the wounded space...the heart, the head, the home....peace is won, God reigns, and our lives are no longer broken, shattered, shaken, or violated, but more tender, softened, supple, and rich with compassion, mercy, and grace.
This slip of a Psalm is back in the front pocket of my heart today....I will caress it in my prayers.
with love and hope...
Kate Robertson, CS