Zvi Bellin, PhD, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor Rotating Header Image

Meaning Blog: Standing Between Loss and Love

(Photo credit: http://imanideveraux.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/dead-heart.jpg)

There are periods of apathy and uncertainty that we all must live through. Quite fitting for the cycle of the Jewish calendar which just passed through its time of mourning – we stand on the cusp of change, heading towards love.

The story of mourning begins with the destruction of a temple (or 2 temples), in 70 C.E. The commemoration today though, in 2013, is not just about that physical loss. The temple represented a degree of certainty for the Jewish people – they knew what God wanted and how to relate to God. Or they believed that they did. This metaphor is universal – as the temple crumbled, so did certainty, and here we are generations later, many of us still shrugging our shoulders, wondering, “So what now? How do we connect and participate in this world?” Many of us live in a perpetual state of uncertainty, especially when it comes to our spiritual lives.

The next major day of the Jewish calendar, Tu B’Av, calls for an embracing of love and of reaching out to each other. Now that walls and structure have been erased, the wisdom of the Jewish calendar propels us into focusing on love. With the slate wiped clean (at times a very painful process), we can return to the basic question, “What is the point?” The answer is simple – to love. I do not mean Disney love, recklessly falling head-over-heels for Prince or Princess Charming like in any of the classic Nursery Songs from our childhood. As a spiritual quality, love means openness and a willingness to trust. Love is a process of learning to see suffering and to figure out what it means to use one’s own presence to respond.

This morning out on a jog, I passed a homeless person sleeping upright in a wheelchair. They tucked themselves away, almost hidden between two buildings, with a blanket over their head and torso. I first jogged past feeling sorry for this person, imaging a potentially disabled person living in this terrible situation. I thought maybe I should check on this person, see if they needed anything – like a warm drink, food, a home! Maybe I should call the police? I stopped jogging and turned back to where the person was probably asleep. I noticed doubt arise and fear. Doubt that I can actually help this person, and fear to wake up some stranger. So I continued on again, witnessing and as of yet, not really responding. This is a perfect example where I can learn how to love. Upon reflecting, I can call the local Homeless Outreach Team and let them know where this person was sleeping. Maybe they can keep an eye out for them tonight. Sharing this story is an act of responding too, as is praying for the wisdom that we in the U.S.A. can learn to share our resources better, so no one has to live on the street.

So here we are, standing between loss and love. Loss drives us towards love; love fuels the pain of loss. This sacred and profound cycle is a teacher that touches all of our lives. May we accept the challenge to learn how to love deeper and wider, so that our local and global communities reflect these ideals.

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