When Love Beckons, Follow, Episode 103

Can we catch on to the ways we contract from life so as not to feel its consequences? And can we learn to open, instead, so that the possibilities of our loving – other people, a calling, life itself – can come through, with all their pain and all their joy? A conversation about the radical opening that love can be, with Lizzie Winn and Justin Wise of Thirdspace.

Here’s Episode 103 of Turning Towards Life, a weekly live 30 minute conversation hosted by Thirdspace in which Justin Wise and Lizzie Winn dive deep into big questions of human living. Find us on FaceBook to watch live and join in the lively conversation on this episode. We’re also on YouTube, and as a podcast on Apple, Google and Spotify.

You can also download the mp3 audio file here.

Our source this week is an extraordinary poem by Kahlil Gibran. It’s the starting point for a conversation in which we consider the inevitable way that love brings us into contact with our vulnerability and rawness, and also with our capacity to contribute. We consider the many ways in which we try to make ourselves powerful, and invincible, by withdrawing ourselves from the possibility of loving (and hence from life), and the huge cost we and others can pay for such attempts at self-protection. And we wonder together about simple moves we might make to open more fully to the life that is here, and with it the consequence that we find ourselves open to, and changed by, the love that comes through us.

When Love Beckons

When love beckons to you, follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.
For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you.
Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.
Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.
He threshes you to make you naked.
He sifts you to free you from your husks.
He grinds you to whiteness.
He kneads you until you are pliant;
And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God’s sacred feast.
All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life’s heart.
But if in your fear you would seek only love’s peace and love’s pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love’s threshing-floor,
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.
Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;
For love is sufficient unto love.
Think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.
Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love’s ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.

Kahlil Gibran

Photo by Hugues de BUYER-MIMEURE on Unsplash