One day in sixth grade, I recall complaining to my long-suffering mother about my name. “Amy is just too cutesy. Why couldn’t you have given me a stronger name? I think I’ll go by my middle name.” Mom patiently explained the name Amy means “Beloved,” and I was – so she thought it was a good name.
I’ve long since given up my 12 year old rants, and have actually come to “love” my name. I have realized over the years that the strongest part of me is my heart and my ability to love. To be able to love is the greatest thing we can do, and to be one who loves is the greatest thing we can be.
A few years back, my marriage was in shambles, things were tough financially, and I had a demanding job and carried all the emotional labor of running the household with two very active children. I reached a tipping point one Friday night, and took off for the weekend to see one of my best friends. My Granny resided in a nursing home near Patty, and I slipped in to see her on Sunday morning before I returned home. Granny was in the throes of dementia, so I knew she wouldn’t recognize me or be able to talk about anything from the last 50 years. But I also know that we don’t completely understand how the brain works, and it was always important for me to love my Granny and be present with her. She had helped raise me, after all.
I sat beside her bed, and loudly spoke (due to her hearing loss), “Granny, Granny! It’s Amy. I’ve come to visit.” Granny never quite focused on me, but she slowly responded, “Amy. Amy. Everybody always loved Amy.” I couldn’t stop crying. She said so many wonderful things to me over the years, but those words spoken out of her confusion were perhaps the most important ones she ever said to me.
Love never goes to waste. Even if it is received poorly, it changes and transforms the one who loves. We become a higher being and can see the world in a brighter light. Even if our love is ignored or rejected, it carries us (the ones who love) to a more fully formed and fully human plane. The one who never, or rarely, loves is to be pitied. Their vision is limited and their lives pathetically narrow. It is love which widens and expands our world in ways we could never imagine. And the more we love, the greater the world.
Yes, our hearts can be broken. And love is what heals the cracked heart – the love we have for ourselves and the love the universe has for us.
Love lifts us. Love heals us. Love lights the path. Love creates the colors and shadows which enrich our journey. Love bonds us to another in ways we can never fully comprehend and for which we can only be thankful.
In Shakti Gawain’s classic book, Creative Visualization, she provides a list of mantras for creating more positive energy in this world. One is I love to love and be loved. My hope for you is that these can be your words to live by in the coming days, especially in the midst of the uncertainty, pain, and challenges of these times.