ENDURANCE as LOVE
Have you ever thought of endurance as love? Valentine’s Day is upon us. For many, it is a day to celebrate romantic love. Others give it the status of just another day. Some people celebrate the concept of love in general. Love is meant to be noticed and sometimes celebrated in big or in small ways.
The writings of Hazrat Inayat Khan often resonate with me. Recently I reread an article titled, “Love, Human and Divine”. (See: http://wahiduddin.net/mv2/VII/VII_9.htm)
“Every kind of power lies in this one thing which we call by the simple name: love. Charity, generosity, kindness, affection, endurance, tolerance, and patience – all these words are different aspects of one; they are different names of only one thing: love. Whether it is said, ‘God is love,’ or whatever name is given to it, all the names are the names of God; and yet every form of love, every name for love, has its own peculiar scope, has a peculiarity of its own. Love as kindness is one thing, love as tolerance is another, love as generosity is another, love as patience another; and yet from beginning to end it is just love. It is love’s different manifestations in different directions which distinguish themselves differently and have different purposes.”
– Hazrat Inayat Khan
When I read the paragraph, endurance is the word that jumped out at me. Endurance as love …
Human beings endure suffering, pain, despair, and simple discomfort for a multitude of reasons.
Think of –
Survivors of the Holocaust and concentration camps
Soldiers who fought in WWI and other wars (declared or not)
The man or woman with a painful illness of disease
A person with cancer undergoing treatment
The person who is suicidal and hangs on for one more night (in hopes of a better day and/or not wanting to leave a legacy of suicide to family and friends)
An abuse or trauma victim who deals with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress)
So many more scenarios …
Endurance is key. Healing from past events or illness is possible in many cases. Being able to persevere, to endure the physical or emotional pain until healing occurs seems to be an almost insurmountable challenge sometimes. In certain circumstances, such as a debilitating illness, pain will not subside. Endurance is a day by day, even moment by moment, proposition.
Parents often chose to substitute their own desires of a dream job or career to raise their children and to provide a better education. An episode of “This is Us” (a television show on NBC) portrays the father of triplets choosing to not start a business in order to support his family. These are common choices parents make for the greater good of their families.
Endurance as love …
Victims of abuse or torture, whether state or non-state torture, endure moments or years or even decades of pain. (Read more about non-state torture on: https://roadtofreedomandpeace.com/non-state-torture-ritual-abuse-extreme-abuse/ and http://nonstatetorture.org/files/3013/2788/1114/tortureinthe_homefs.pdf )
No matter what one’s challenges and hardships are, whether victims of trauma or not, how do most of us continue to live and endure times of pain or despair? Where do we get the strength? Many, many times we endure because we love. It is the love of life, the love of one’s country, the love of God, the love of family, the love of friends, the love of nature, the healthy love of self, or some unknown elusive love that keeps us going.
My heart goes out to individuals who have succumbed to pain and despair whether through giving up on life, alcoholism, drug addiction, and/or by suicide. I have a tremendous amount of empathy for those who cannot endure any longer. The body, mind, and heart can withstand only so much hurt.
I often find myself thinking of a veteran that I read about a few years (or more) ago. It is unfortunate that I do not remember his name. He suffered from PTSD. As he fought his own personal battle, he formed an organization to help other veterans who dealt with PTSD. Many were helped by this man and his organization. Then one day, he killed himself. His death (and battle lost) does not negate all the good he did for others. He shared his love.
This Valentine’s Day or even today, please take time to reflect on LOVE – genuine and real love. What actions embody love? Does Khan’s aspects of love resonate with you also? Many religions and spiritual practices define love in a similar fashion.