Have you ever done a Google search for images of love? It’s all couples and hearts and cute little kittens – oh, yes, and the odd picture of Courtney Love that I really could have done without. I don’t want to suggest that there is anything wrong with those images, but I do want to say they fall woefully short of describing what love is. That’s especially disappointing since we don’t do it very well with words, either.
Ram Dass has suggested that it’s all love – that we come from love, we live surrounded by love, and at the end of our lives we return to love. That can be awfully hard to see in the midst of our day-to-day lives. It can be even harder for the economically disadvantaged to see, and that’s only to name one oppressed group. If it’s all love, does that mean we are supposed to feel all mushy inside toward everyone? Not exactly.
You see, the biggest part of love may well be compassion, the idea that I quite simply want what’s best for you to come your way. That sounds easy, but it’s not all that easy when what is best for you and what is best for me are either in conflict or we want the same things and they are in short supply. In those situations, compassion tells us we put aside our desires until a later time and see the desires of the other fulfilled now. How many fractured marriages would just that single shift in attitude repair?