I finished reading Frank Conroy's wonderful book, "Body & Soul," and began Carol Shield's book on Jane Austen. These books are a treat, especially in the long stretch of the night.
This morning, I enjoyed breakfast by candlelight. How different my mood when I eat and drink to the bounce of a flame. Thomas Merton was there with me too. I am following a year with Thomas Merton.
His words for December 15 are titled "Love is the only answer." I know it is the 17th. That is titled "In the Company of Friends," and is about a day he spends with friends, but on the 15th he quotes Albert Einstein and those words feel important to me today.
"My responsibility is to be in all reality a peacemaker in the world, an apostle, to bring people to truth, to make my whole life a true and effective witness to God's truth."
"We must revolutionize our thinking, revolutionize our actions, and must have the courage to revolutionize our relations among the nations of the world. Cliches of yesterday will no longer do...... To bring this home to men all over the world is the most important and fateful function intellectuals have ever had to shoulder. Will they have enough courage to overcome their own nationalities to the extent that is necessary to induce the peoples of the world to change their deep-rooted national traditions in a most radical fashion?"
Merton responds to this: "Love is the only answer. But medieval talk about love does nothing. What does love mean today? What is its place in the enormous dimensions of the modern world? We have to love in a new way and with a new attitude, and I suppose perhaps the first thing to do is admit that I do not know the meaning of love in any context - ancient or new."
This was written in 1957. I feel we are learning to "love in a new way and with a new attitude." We have tools for that now. I'll list just a few with my own personal bias: Rosen work, Fred Luskin's work on forgiveness, Marshall Rosenberg's work on non-violence, Dan Clurman and Mudita Nisker's work on communication, Karen Roeper's work with Essential Motion and Eyes of the Beholder. There are therapists and somatic workers, and a new integration of religions working together. I believe we live in the best of times, and yes, just as a child steps forward, and then, back, we seem to sometimes do the same, and, yet, the direction continues forward, forward, forward into the light. I feel that thoroughly in my bones, the goodness of this world, the people in it, and the heart.
Savor the full love in your heart today. Isn't it an enormously warm and cozy, expansive and uplifting place to be, to live, and to share?