A dear friend expressed the fear that I might change. He's not the only one who has felt this concern. Over the months since John Sack and I have felt the calling to a shared life and have begun taking steps to respond to this call, a few other close and loving friends have voiced similar feelings. My heart holds their concern lovingly. I think I can understand. These are the beautiful people who have cared for me during these years since my dear John Weber became ill and died, placing me on the path of grief. It is now three years since I began to walk that path.

I don't want to walk the path of grief forever. Another dear friend who is grieving, having lost his wife only a few months ago, speculated about his own new and quite raw experience, and as I read his words I thought something like this: that the path of grief and the path of love cross and intersect, sometimes running as streams within each other. It is love, though, that finally becomes the larger stream, growing into a mighty river that holds the current of grief—now so imbued with love that it is transformed. It is a river of Gratitude. A river of Blessing. Grief adds depth and wisdom to love, and love sweetens grief. All of it turns into an ongoing presence of Life.

Before my first husband, Pat, died of cancer he told me that I must love again. The love must survive. Love was not so much the gift we gave to one another, but the Divine Gift that had been given to us and must continue to be given. "You are young," he said. "You must marry again."

Does that still hold true now that I am old?

Yesterday I visited Bennet who is almost 97. He sits all day long in his chair by the window at the home of his daughter, Sue. His face is smooth as a mirror. His nose hooks down toward his chin. His hand reaches out to take mine and his skin is dry and thin as parchment.

"How are you, today?" I asked him. "How do you feel?"

"I feel nothing." He told me. "Every day is the same."

"What does it feel like to be old?" I wondered aloud. "You are very old."

"I didn't know that." He looked at me. "They tell me I am, but I'm no different than I ever was."

Remember that old idiom: The more we change, the more we stay the same? I'm not sure of it. Though there's a way in which it is truer than it appears on the surface. Maybe it means that the more we change the closer we get to what is most constant in us, the still point around which the dance of existence whirls. The still point – this is what I think today – is love.

So, yes. I'm changing. Hopefully I will continue to change. Hopefully I will change wisely while love keeps its constancy. May all of us, as we age through the changes in our lives, grow ever closer to that stillness at the center where we each exist in wholeness and simplicity.

Dante put good words to it:

"But already my desire and my will

were being turned like a wheel, all at one speed,

by the Love which moves the sun and the other stars."


Luna said…
Sometimes I think that the more we change, it's not a matter of becoming less of who we have been, but more of what/who we are in our heart of hearts. Sunshine and shadows, just diferent facets of the whole.
A beautiful and wise thought, Luna. Thank you.

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