Someone sent me a slideshow the other day, titled Beautiful Lessons of Life, which was, indeed, beautiful in many different ways. One of the slides contains the following bits of wisdom, some, but not all, of the lines of which I have heard before. The slide reads:
Work as if you have no need of the money.
Love as if nobody ever made you suffer.
Dance as if nobody is watching.
Sing as if nobody is hearing you.
Live as if the Paradise were on this Earth.
Each line, I think, speaks a valuable truth. Perhaps not surprisingly, the line that most arrested me was the advice to love as if nobody ever made you suffer. Because, of course, being hurt by others does tend to make us wary. The temptation with each hurt is to pull back more – to hold back some of our love, some of ourselves – so as to make ourselves less vulnerable to further hurt. It is actually a rational response at some level.
Nonetheless the advice is sound. It invites us to accept that suffering is part of the cost of love. A spirtiual director once said to me, in the context of my wonder at how much I was grieving a particular death, “You grieve deeply because you love deeply.” Love is not painless. It does hurt sometimes. But to not love fully, is far worse. It prevents us from opening ourselves fully to God…to each other…to who are are meant to be. So: Love as if nobody ever made you suffer.
You can see the Beautiful Lessons of Life slideshow here.