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Relationships begin with a spark. The spark lights a candle. Life adds candles. With every life event a candle is either lit or extinguished — but it’s not as simple as happy events light candles and sad events extinguish them. Sad events can light candles as well; it all depends on our response.

Eventually, candles assembled next to each other bleed their wax into the spaces between. Eventually life compresses on our lives and our candles, until the individual flames become indistinguishable, burning as one, lighting even more space around them.

Love starts with attraction. It grows to affection, and with care, transitions to a depth where hearts link and souls join.

Life continues with hearts entwined until the roots of our lives reach beyond the heart and into our souls as the vines of our actions reach out into the world. They are the arms of what we do in love that call witness to Who lives within us.

Love meets its fruition as its roots innervate our souls. The melding of two souls, individual yet so entwined as to become indistinguishable, as individual as each candle, yet burning as one flame.

The joining of souls is where love takes on a new dimension, beyond description and beyond explanation. It is life lived together where care is not just of ourselves but is equally and naturally for the other.

It is implicit trust that one gives all for the other — and when we stumble in our inevitable weakness, it is understood that the pain caused was unintentional — and when the pain that is caused is realized, it is felt even more bitterly than by the recipient.

It becomes life not only lived with each other, but lives lived for each other — each loving the other more and more even though it seems impossible to love any more deeply, any more fully. Every day brings new opportunities to love, and then one day, we look with the face of God at the face of God in our loved one. Love is the eyes we see with; it is the voice of God speaking.

When lived and cultivated, love is the only thing that gives us a glimpse of heaven. It is the constant thread that links us to God.

This depth of love is beyond the separation of distance and time. The longing of absence is always felt, but it is also met with a reassurance that the other is still with us, always a part of us, even in separation.

Life finds its fulfillment in service — we are created by Love, so that we would share that love. Service is love in action. It finds its ultimate fulfillment in the happiness of another, in the covenant of relationship.

Love is the only thing that grows when it is given away.

“Chaucer said, ‘Love is blind’, but it might be closer to the real truth to say that, ‘Love sees with clearer, kinder eyes’” — Joan Chittister.


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