Rev. Paul D. Daniel, Minister
Valentine day reminds us of love in it many forms;
Love for God, agape, filial love, love our partners and family;
from childlike infatuation; to Eros, into silver/purple haired loving intimacy and companionship.
Poets and minstrels wax on of love eternal reminding us romance brings peace and joy to our hearts and trouble to our souls which I am learning anew.
Until recently I lived alone, my cat Lucy, was my only companion looking upside down into my eyes… purring. She knew not that I sought a love beyond hers.
When any of us live alone we can all experience loneliness which can be depressingly intense.
I clearly remember times being home alone longing for love and companionship that seemed to elude me. Perhaps you know that feeling.
I have learned that adult dating is for the pits. Which is why some find it easier to connect sexually,
rather than intimately in a loving encounter with another thinking, feeling beating heart beyond just a pulsing body.
There is an old expression that sometimes rings true; “women use sex to get love and men use love to get sex.
People today all too frequently turn to the internet to numb their pain and loneliness thru sex dating sites and pornography.
Perhaps like you, I find entering an inner dialogue with my better self helps me to clear my mind about what I want and need to heal a wounded hearts and abandon the craving, the hunt for empty soulless connections that can never satisfy for long.
Within us there is a soft whisper in our souls! As William Fisher writes, “of love and says I can be whole, I have an inner power to do so… to abandon negative thinking and feeling. I know that whisper is my inner voice is one of hope and hope—that confirms that we are worth of love…which is a living, joyous and creative entity.
Whatever our pain we are not doomed forever to be without comfort and companionship… for we always have the inner spirit, God if you will that animates our existence.
For we Universalists, our salvation is ours without asking—we believe love forever triumph over emptiness and loss. That is the promise of our faith.
But we must be proactive in finding the love we seek. Real love is demanding and requires much.
We can take shortcuts through empty sex or can do the hard work of conducting an inner moral inventory of what we want and offer another? Real love is an equal blend of giving and receiving, fantasy and reality, compassion and truth telling. Real love makes the intimacy of sex sublime, combining both bodily pleasure and spiritual enrichment which reaches beyond physical longing and hunger into touch beyond hands and lips… a reaching for ecstasy with another.
Nancy Rose Meaker expressed it this way,
“I hunger to engage!
In intercourse of word or flesh
I know you, and to you are known.
Come be with me in dappled sunlight, languorous in laughter shared.
O come explore delicious realms and let our sacred touch
I dance the earth and sky ecstatic, bodies singing,
Your pleasured smile is holy wine, eyes closed,
The moment is our crucible, luminous with reverent flame creative juices, honey-sweet,
raised to heaven,
offered in your name.”
We alone define what love is and what we want from it.
I would suggest there is a hierarchy of essential needs in a loving relationship, with trust and fidelity at the top of the pyramid.
We must be able to have confidence that the other is faithful to both the intend and the letter of a commitment.
Remember we open ourselves to another and thus vulnerable to deep hurt when we commit our hearts to another and offer our bodies to deep intimacy. That openness must be treated with sacred intent by both parties. Without fidelity the safety and trust ones feels with another is broken and like Humpty Dumpty, cannot easily be put back together again.
We know that both men and women cheat and in alarming number; but infidelity is not just limited to physical acts when we have the internet. That can just as easily lead to an alienation of affections and emotional betrayal?
Men perhaps have an easier time in separating sex and love then women but all who stray seem more capable of compartmentalizing their lives to justify their behavior. Not being fully present in a relationship can make a sham of a commitment.
There need to be three entities in every relationship, no exceptions. There must be two fully present individuals and then the embodiment of that union called a couple. Each partner must be fully present never giving up our individual identity to satisfy some role expectation, maintaining you, me and us.
Our partners have an absolute right to integrity, to our authentic selves. Secrets and holding back kills love a lie at a time. t is not just love and trust that is destroyed but our sense of self-worth and friendship; for our partners must be the one we like best being with and sharing life’s adventures, it deep sorrow and giddy joys. Our partners are the one person that embodies all our hopes, dreams and sometimes fantasies for a happy life. We must learn to accept our partners for their authentic selves, without trying to remake them into some idealized fantasy, perfect partner. Perfection is a destructive illusion. We each must allow the other to grow and change over time for that is what love calls us to.
There is so much more to love than I can define even if I had a life time. I invite you to examine what you bring to the table in your relationships and what you expect in return and then share it with your partner/lover. Love offers a spiritual connection to the holy and sacred and yes, thankfully the sensual pleasures of the flesh.
True love resonates down through the ages in the words of poets, philosophers and theologians and through the beating of our own hearts. We ache don’t we when we lack a trusted friend, someone to share our deepest and darkest in safety.
As the poet William Blake wrote,
“Man was made for joy and woe;
And when this we rightly know
Through the world we safely go.
Joy and woe are woven fine,
A clothing for the soul divine.”
And finally where there is love there is hope for our deepest desires to be satisfied, but
We must be willing to answer the call of love divine.