In Wendell Berry's "Hannah Coulter," an old woman reflects on her life. Her voice is saturated with love. It is as palpable as the humidity that blankets Washington, DC during the summer. She speaks out of her experience, the memories deep and rich as a forest floor, where years of decomposing leaves have created a nurturing humus. Early on in the book, she describes life as an invitation to enter a room of love. "Sometimes too I could see that love is a great room with a lot of doors, where we are invited to knock and come in. Though it contains all the world, the sun, moon, and stars, it is so small as to be also in our hearts. It is in the hearts of those who choose to come in. some do not come in, Some may stay out forever."
To enter into the room of love means to be willing to connect to the world around you. To risk being open and vulnerable, allowing the energy of love to flow in and through you, building connections, bringing purpose and desire, power and motivation, joy and delight.
I've blogged in the past about love, (see the categories along the sidebar for those posts) and how I believe it has three main components: giving, enjoying and partnering. Each of these requires an other (even if it means that I see myself in relationship to myself). To be "in love" with the world, is to be actively engaging in these three aspects of love. I choose to give to the things and people I love. I offer my time, my energy, my insight and encouragement. I may bring a casserole or mow a lawn, or craft a quilt. I can volunteer at an animal shelter, or be a part of conservation efforts for our local stream.
I also love by enjoying the world around me. I choose to be fed by the sunlight streaming through the trees on my morning walk, by the peach that's finally ripened and offered for sale by a local farmer. I see and appreciate the kindness of my spouse, and laugh at the outrageous scene cleverly described in the current novel.
Then there is the third component of love: partnering and collaborating. Creative companioning, I've called it. Writing this, I find myself aware that it is the area in which I feel the least energy. Although I am energized by giving (and it's an easy posture for me to fall into), and I am expanding my capacity for enjoyment, the missing component, I can see now, is that of creative collaboration. When I am involved with others and we are working together on what we love, then the energy is reinforced. Have you had this experience? This is what I think is meant by synergy - the concept that the energy of working together is more than the sum of the two energies of the parties involved.
Life as an invitation to love. It gives me my goal, and helps me evaluate where I'm missing out. I like it.