“Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.”
– Maya Angelou
A few weeks ago, I was looking for quotes, poems, or verses to read at my son’s wedding, when I found the above quote by the late Maya Angelou. What a lovely quote and how timeless! As we observe our world, it is easy to see how money and power seem to be in the driver’s seat. And love? Where is love? Relegated to the back seat or the trunk? We need only look into our hearts to know where it may be in our lives. We say we love…some people, some things, some places. Do we honestly look at others with the eyes of our hearts?
At a time in our history, when there is so much before us that doesn’t feel or look like love, I found these words a refreshing reminder of what is possible…when we open our hearts while laying down our biases.
I have enjoyed riding the “high” that has been the effect of the beautiful gathering of family and friends, from far and near – despite losses, heartaches and other challenges – to celebrate the wedding of my son and my daughter-in-law. The love in the space was palpable. Yes, I know you can say or think, “Of course she felt that way. It is her son, after all.” You would be correct and it was the energy in the space, the looks on the faces, the smiles and embraces of people across multiple generations, past family difficulties, and many, many miles.
Although I did not read the above quote or the poem which follows at the wedding*, I appreciate today the way these words have so beautifully and eloquently captured the moments of that magical weekend.
~ * ~ * ~
Touched by An Angel
by Maya Angelou
We, unaccustomed to courage
exiles from delight
lived coiled in shells of loneliness
until loves leaves its high holy temple
and comes into our sight
to liberate us in into life.
and in its train come ecstasies
old memories of pleasure
ancient histories of pain.
Yet, if we are bold,
love strikes away the chains of fear
from our souls.
We are weaned from our timidity
In the flush of love’s light
we dare be brave
And suddenly we see
that love costs all we are
and will ever be.
Yet it is only love
which sets us free.
~ * ~ * ~
Love may be something we think we do. In fact it is who we are…and we often forget when we get angry or judge another harshly. In those dark, fear-based moments, we have forgotten. Perhaps we find ourselves too busy to love. “Oh, when I finish this project, I’ll spend more time with my family,” is just one of any number of reasons why we may keep ourselves from our very essence and the beautiful exchange that occurs when we are present to anyone.
I am reminded of one final quote, which I hold dear and read often – to remind me what I am here to be.
Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.
May we slow down to reflect on our barriers to love; that our hearts may open just a little more to acceptance of ourselves, those whom we regard as different and those closest to us who most cherish our presence.
*The bride and groom chose an excerpt from a wedding ceremony I shared with them, from the book, Illuminata: A Return to Prayer, by Marianne Williamson.