My father found his way into my dreams, again, last night. I find it interesting that he comes to me, not in the form of the hard working, vibrant figure of my youth, but as the shell of a man, who lay dying with Alzheimer’s disease. This morning, I awoke with a ‘knowing’ that there is a deeply profound lesson which lies hidden in the folds of those dream-state visits.
Life has a way of teaching us things that we didn’t realize we needed to learn
My dad was a gentle-giant of a man, who worked hard and sacrificed much to care for his family in the best way that he knew. My favorite memories of him are snapshots of experiences, infused with the outflow of his sensitive and compassionate heart toward mine.
In my waking hours, I do not choose to remember the last hard year of his suffering. But in truth, it was during those terrible, tender days that our ‘life dance’ came full-circle, as steps drew toward one last, haunting melody. As we inched toward our last farewell, final knots were intricately tied by fingers of deep love as they met deep need, eternally fusing the ties that bind.
When deep love meets deep need, life’s course is altered
It is an uncompromising, unconditional love that allows a parent to patiently, selflessly, push beyond their own exhaustion and self interest to meet a child’s constant demands and messy, uneven attempts at life. Deep love is required to sufficiently meet the pressing needs of a vulnerable child’s forming heart. When that kind of deep love meets deep need, the course of a little soul’s life is securely set.
It is the same, when a grown up child faces the unnerving collapse of the secretly held myth of immortal, parental strength. It is an uncompromising, unconditional love that rises above bewilderment and grief, surrendering personal upheaval, in order to be fully present for an aged and anxious, life-worn heart. When that kind of deep love meets deep need, compassion’s kindest, most gentle voice speaks peace over frailty and fear, easing the course of a soul’s last journey home.
At the intersection of deep love and deep need, the evidence of Love is what remains
Deep love can be found in the steadfast resolve to ‘never give up’, on one who has lost his way, keeping hope alive and possibility within reach. It can be observed in the open hand of plenty that chooses to fill hungry bellies of the less fortunate. Or within the noble, courageous, feats of the strong, who fight for the freedom of strangers. It can be felt in arms that wrap tightly around those who mourn great loss. Or in the compassionate choice to forgive the unforgiveable, allowing grace to break heavy chains of guilt. It can be witnessed in the choice to abandon judgment, in the face of an unfamiliar circumstance, in order to hold up a friend who buckles under the weight. Or in the ‘letting go’ of fear, bringing into crystal focus the Truth of equality among men and the sacred essence of life.
Securely tucked into our ordinary moments are a million and one ways by which deep love can meet deep need. And when the two are joined as one, the course of life is altered and all of heaven rejoices.