I commandeered my mother’s book club book on the ride down to Chicago for thanksgiving. I was rewarded with one of the more inspiring stories I have read in a long time. Recently released in October, “Proof of Heaven” is the articulate recount of an Atheist Neurosurgeon who became a firm believer in the divine through an unprecedented Near Death experience. One of the many take a ways from the book for me was this quote:
“How do we get closer to (our) genuine, spiritual self? By manifesting love and compassion. Why? Because love and compassion are far more than the abstractions many of us believe them to be. They are real. They are concrete. And they make up the very fabric of the spiritual realm.” –Even Alexander
The above statement makes so much intuitive sense to me. The author is articulating something I believe all humans at their core recognize as truth. Love is what connects us; it is what allows us to conquer what was previously impossible. By expressing love, we are speaking God’s language. We are vibrating at a higher level. Love releases us from the chains and clouds of the ordinary.
Manifesting love and compassion- what does that mean? To me, it means habitually practicing showing affection and care to others- for their sake. It means looking past your ego to the outside world and tending to it and its needs.
This quote plays into a video my sister sent me a couple weeks ago on Gratitude and being a blessing to others. I have attached the link below.
The line at the end of the video is my favorite- about being a blessing to others through your eyes, your smile and your touch. What simple yet conscious effort we could make during the day. Instead of being wrapped in our own thoughts- looking up and smiling into a strangers eyes.
Loving others occurs to me as a puzzle or game. There are so many ways to contribute to others! Folding laundry, giving hugs, paying someone a genuine compliment, fixing something for someone, making someone a meal, calling someone you wouldn’t talk to every day. Sometimes, the biggest contribution to someone else is letting them contribute to you (I know that one is difficult for me). One of the ways I tangibly love contributing to others is by writing letters. Inspired letters sharing your thoughts and inquiring where the other party is in life. Or thank you notes- writing down by hand that you really appreciate someone in your life. I am lucky to know several people in my life who are fantastic letter writers- a letter from them in the mail is such a day-maker.
I believe one of the purest and beautiful expressions of writing is the creation of Love Letters. Telling someone they are beautiful, appreciated and loved by you- that communication allows for some of the richest and most inspiring prose. Writing a love letter is doing one’s best to articulate something purely good that is beyond words. The content of love letters includes themes of hope, joy, wonder, gratitude, humility, devotion… many of the more important themes of the human experience. Also, consider love letters in the context of this bible verse: “If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.” –Corinthians 13:1. This verse makes me think that love letters are essential because they may be where truth is really captured.
The bible in some ways is a collection of Love Letters to God. Literally many different writers sat down to write about loving him through contemplating him, examining him, sharing him and expressing their gratitude for him. Love is undoubtedly the guiding motif of the bible, the message to take home: Love God. Love others.
Stereotypically now a days Love letters are written at either the beginning of a relationship to inspire passion or to communicate during a long distance relationship. People I think forget how much more a love letter can be. An apology note can turn into a love letter, we can write love letters to someone even if we see them every day and have been with them for years. Also, we are not limited to writing love letters to the beloved- what about to children, sisters, friends and even strangers? I found this moving video about writing love letters to complete strangers. See below:
What if, every time someone struggled with addiction, they wrote a love letter instead? What if every time someone was angry, sad or lonely, they turned to write a letter to someone else? I remember writing so many letters back and forth with my cousin Jonathan when he was going through addiction. It is hard to know if they made a difference, but I was able to articulate to him that I loved him, that I wanted him for who he was beyond what he was struggling with. They for me are a residual spark of tenderness, symbolizing a robust relationship with my twin cousin.
So maybe today go out and write and/or read a love letter. Sweep up the joy and passion into a fresh articulation, and then share it with someone. Let the letter change you, and through that change become a gift to others. Let your letter be today the fuel for tangible joy and truth.