Two dynamics characterize the practice of contemplation:
deepening concentration and expanding awareness. These two are one.
They give birth to twins: inner solitude and loving solidarity with all.
Martin Laird, A Sunlight Absence
This post started a little rando, but its contents aren’t … heh — especially where its contents aren’t mine.
Elsewhere — possibly in the same book, because I took it down on a notecard kept with the first one, but not sure because I didn’t cite it for later use … this —
Our practice of silent prayer matures from a place of refuge
to a place of encounter. No matter what happens while we are
praying, whether miserable or marvelous, we encounter freedom.
This strikes me as true of relationship generally, especially the first line — in friendship and love with others we might start with refuge —
Are you one like me, or will you at least like me? …
I don’t know if you’ll be kind but may I sit here a moment?
— but it moves to encounter —
I’m glad to be here with you.
[I look at him, he looks at me.]
Laird’s second line is also true here. We don’t mind the ‘bad times’ … the ‘bad’ times … with people we’ve come to truly love.
There are no ‘bad times’ with those whom we love. Our perception, especially in the moment, can take issue with that idea.
But ask —
Wd you rather enjoy time with someone you don’t love or
have an ‘unpleasant’ [for now] day with someone you do?
— try this test —
What does it feel like later, what is it, that ‘bad’ time?
One day, one week, one year, one lifetime … hence?
My late and former father-in-law, and many friends, most of them mechanically minded, loved the line —
If all else fails, read the instructions.
In this vein, re-read what I wrote above —
There are no bad times with those whom we love.
— that is to say —
it is either [as above] not a bad time or …
if it is truly, deeply, enduringly a bad time,
one we continue to rehash, regret, resent …
Then one or both of us don’t yet love.
Christ Crowned with Thorns
Matthias Stom [c. 1633-1639]
public domain; via Wikipedia