Venice Family (2).jpg

My son phoned me yesterday and I surprised myself with the joy it instantaneously brought me to talk with him. It was the same joy that sparked to life when I arrived in Boston to see my daughter. I’ve come to understand that that true internal, unfettered joy is an expression of something deep inside my core. Not a joy of having, not a joy of getting, not a completion, not an external fulfillment, but a plain pure joy of being: my son and I were together, if only by phone. Cursed is he who hasn’t known the joy of that joy…a wellspring that exists within simply in connection with someone special…in my case, my son and my daughter and my wife and some few others.

I think that the joy is an expression of something at my core, an expression of love that is my core, my self. Love is often expressed as joy: an automatic wellspring of joy in connection with someone. But pure love is separate from and at the foundation of that joy. I sense an instantaneous, core-felt, core-expressing, wellspring of joy; but at the core, at the source is love.

I love my mother and father, who have been gone for 15 and 8 years…I wish I could see them, hug them, be hugged by them, I wish I could hear my mom’s voice or get my dad’s advice, but none of that diminishes my love of them; I still have internally a wellspring of joy from them. Conversely, when each of them died, I had an instantaneous, core-felt sorrow…it was my self expressing its love as sorrow. Love is bigger than just the joy or sorrow, because love is the fundamental core that directs the other feelings: the joy of that pure love makes me enduring in its pursuit, dedicated to its preservation, steadfast against adversity, and complete in its presence; the sorrow of that pure love wounds and pains me right down at my core.

Therein lies a major confusion we add to love…“Some say love is a burning thing,” says the song…but I’m learning that we confuse “the burning” with the love we proclaim it to be; we confuse a physical desire or appetite with actual love. The burning is an appetite to enjoy more joy, to chase more joy, to give, feel, find, create, and have that joy. Wanting to express love in some outward way, to exploit physically the joy of love…that is a burning of desire, a burning of appetite. But love is separate from appetite, just as the flame is separate from the boiling pot…love is that feeling and connection of our “core self” to another. We sense it as joys or sorrows or appetites, but love is the feeling and connection at our core. Love, it seems to me, exists through divine miracle and simply “is.” All the feelings that surround and express it are the complications of knowing love.