From the Heart: Love in the Final Stretch

Sometimes I think I have my entire life ahead of me; sometimes I think I’m in the final stretch. Maybe you know how that feels.

I will turn 58 this year. That may sound young to some and prehistoric to others. With time being a manmade construct, it is really irrelevant.

Albert Einstein says, “Time is relative; its only worth depends upon what we do as it is passing.”

Time definitely passes. I no longer feel as certain about getting another book published, renovating another house, building another business … changing the world. I'm just not sure there is enough time left to do it. Then again everything changes in time.

I never thought the horror of living under a Trump presidency would ever end — but it has. Now we prepare for a new administration. We can only hope that the next four years will be marked by a renewed sense of peace, respect and love for all.

One day, though, that will pass, too. As the Buddhists remind us, nothing is permanent.

We live by a clock that runs on the mystery of the ages. The hands keep moving — until they don’t. The face is elusive, reminding us of our mortality and divinity.

I spend a lot of time in silence, alone and with others. Often it is in prayer. Sometimes it is spent listening for the still small voice of “my” God within.

As I sat in silent worship with a local Quaker community yesterday, I heard these words: “If death is as beautiful as being in silence with the divine, I welcome it.”

I am tired of the noise. I am beyond heartbroken at the images of our Capitol being trashed and desecrated.

I want to shake the rioters and domestic terrorists and tell them what I have learned. This is not how any God wants us to pass our time.

When I see the polls that say the majority of Republicans truly believe all of the conspiracy theories, including that the election was illegal and rigged, I feel as if I have been punched in the gut. It just doesn’t make sense in my mind or heart.

I am angry at the supposed “patriots” who seem determined to burn all we have built — including our Constitution — to the ground. I am confused by seemingly good and moral people who support the man who lights the match, again and again.

It is fitting that we are celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day during the week when the fight for our nation’s heart and soul has perhaps never been greater. To honor his memory, I have been reading his quotes, speeches and poems. There are so many that have guided me through the years.

This one feels especially alive right now: “Far from being the pious injunction of a utopian dreamer, this demand is an absolute necessity for the survival of our civilization. Yes, it is love that will save our world and civilization; love even for our enemies.”

Dr. King also says: “I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality … I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.”

I believe that, too. I just do not believe it will happen while I am alive. The emotions that divide our nation are too deep; the ideology is too entrenched.

As my remaining time passes, I am far less concerned with shaping, reforming and challenging the outside world and the people labeled as my “enemies.” It is the work of transforming my inner landscape that most excites me and instills great hope for what lies after.

When I draw my last breath, whether it is in 10 days or 10,000, which would make me 85, I am certain I will not be thinking about the material possessions I owned and will be leaving behind. I will not be focused on the thread count of my king-size sheets, how big my house was, or what kind of car I drove. I will not be concerned with the ending balance on my bank account, since the only deposits that truly matter are the ones I make in my heart.

In many ways we are all in the final stretch. What we do with our passing time as we try to outrun it may not change what we see “out there” — but it will determine how we move on from within. I want to pass in peace and love.

Don’t you?



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