I’ve had my own idea over the years. Perhaps it all started one winter evening in 1973. I was 24 … altruistic, wide-eyed and already tender. I had just watched a live musical in an old Vancouver church – Jesus Christ Superstar. Jesus was crucified on a chain link fence. Both agony and love were on full display.
And there was a song that sung its way into my heart. It was “I Don’t Know How to Love Him”:
Yet, if he said he loved me
I’d be lost. I’d be frightened
I couldn’t cope, just couldn’t cope
I’d turn my head. I’d back away
I wouldn’t want to know
He scares me so
I want him so
I love him so
After the performance, I took a bus away from downtown and ended up in Queen Elizabeth Park. I walked over to a big old tree and sat down. For some unknown number of hours, I rocked back and forth, eyes glazed, and chanted …
Jesus Christ Superstar
Do you think you’re what they say you are?
That night changed me. Love was alive in a deeper way than before. “I love him so” became “I love you”. I began searching for the human being who would answer my prayer. Romantically I discovered Rita, and later Jody. They were receivers of “I love you”.
It took years for such a simple sentence to broaden. I began to include others in my love – not romantically but ever so sweetly. Friends not just for hanging out together but for contact.
“I love you” is still with me but a new softness has emerged. “From whence hath it come?” I don’t know. It’s love without a direction. Not me to you and you to me. It’s like hanging suspended within the immensity of love. Being caressed, being held. I still see the other human being across from me (or the other human beings) but there is a vastness of spirit that covers all.
“There is love”
When I’ve heard those words in the past, I saw them as a wishy-washy version of “I love you”, a poor cousin of the true connection between people. I no longer feel that way.
I’m brought back to Paul Stookey of Peter, Paul and Mary. He wrote “The Wedding Song”:
The union of your spirits here has caused Him to remain
For whenever two or more of you are gathered in His name
There is love, there is love
We are gathered, Paul