A Taste of Love
A friend of mine is challenged with serious illness. In the midst of the chaotic world of serious illness my friend finds time to spend with me and share his life from his world of the unknown, of pain, of confusion, of what seem to me to be no-win choices. I listen. At first I do not realize what is happening. The conversation, some light, some profoundly deep, feels increasingly sacred as I slowly realize what is happening. I become annoyed at distractions. I want to focus on what he says, and what lies unspoken behind what is said. Our time comes to an end. As I leave, our eyes connect. It is but a brief moment, a moment I could have missed. But I didn’t. I realized I had experienced something new, something sacred.
The momentary connection sits in me. I dropped him an email about my experience. He responded in agreement, and shared that my mentioning my experience of connection to him brought him tears. Again I am touched. Silenced.
A few days later this is all still in me. I bring it up in my Hakomi body-work session. “Where am I feeling this?” “What am I feeling?” Words at first escape me, but then the words “Holy of Holies” come from my depths. I realize I had been with my friend in his Holy of Holies. We were two souls together in a truly Holy place.
Then in my session a favorite chant floated up from nowhere, one from a CD that I have played often because it touches me so deeply. The chant is the first track from a CD called Laudate, music of Taize. This first track, the longest of the tracks, is over ten minutes in length and chants the words over and over and over again, sometimes solo, sometimes choir: Stay here and keep watch with me. Watch and pray. Watch and pray.
These words are from Jesus to his disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane the night he was betrayed. Of course when Jesus came back from praying in the Garden, he found his disciples sleeping. I realize that my friend is in his Garden of Gethsemane as he faces such challenges. And here am I with him. My only job is to stay awake, to stay present, to “Stay here and keep watch with me. Watch and pray. Watch and pray.”
I marvel at the risk of his sharing his life with me on such a deep level. I realize the profoundness of this gift from him to me. I feel unworthy of such trust, of such a gift. And my counselor reflects, “But Gary, you received the gift, you did not miss it, you received your friend.” Yes I did. Truly. “And consider that your receiving so deeply was your gift to your friend.” Yes again, he was giving me, entrusting me with his most precious gift, himself, and I was honoring, savoring, and treasuring his gift, the essence of his being. As spiritual writings remind us, I was experiencing that giving and receiving are one.
I have to just pause here and take in all that this is, for me, and for my friend. We have tasted love. For me, at this level, a new experience. What price would I pay for love? And here it is offered freely. Amen.