I was sitting here quietly while the healing prayers were being sent out, I never really know what the address is going to be and I trust Spirit 100% that they will give me something that’s relevant and I heard in my in my mind ‘better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all’. Love is obviously something that they want me to talk about and I think in these times that we’ve all experienced, love has come in all sorts of different guises. From our wonderful NHS, to our neighbors and the people that have carried on working and helping us to to cope. People that perhaps we haven’t really taken much notice of have stepped up to the front and done things for us.
So love is just a four letter word. It’s just a small word and yet it has huge meanings. Love actually changes as we get older, as we evolve and our lives change. Taking us back to when we were young, that very first love that we all remember. Whether it’s in the workplace or in the playground at school, whether it’s one of our teachers that we think are just marvellous that does something that little extra bit special for us, that schoolgirl or schoolboy crush on somebody else in the classroom.
That love we first experience, the love that gives you goosebumps, the love that makes your heart beat faster. You get butterflies and sometimes you just can’t eat because you are so full of love for this other person and sometimes you just feel that your heart is so full of love for this person, that is just going to burst.
You’ve got love that applies to different people, at different times of your life, like when you’ve got your own children. There’s a very endearing love, a protective and encouraging love. The love for our children never leaves us. It changes as they get older, as they leave home and they find a love of their own. But that love is always there. Obviously then that grows if they have a family, if they have children of their own, then that love extends to them. And for our extended family it gives us a sense of belonging, that love that we feel for our brothers, sisters, parents and grandparents, that love is a different love. Although it’s the same letters, it’s a different love that we feel for our partner in life that we share all these things with. So that’s another love that we have for our grandchildren and our own children.
Then there’s another love again. There’s the love of our animals. They give us unconditional love and in return we give them a love that is a dependent love, they depend on us for everything. They depend on us for their food, for their home, for their care, their veterinary care. They depend on us to know what they’re thinking. Sometimes if they’re poorly we’re supposed to notice what’s things about them, if they’re not eating properly. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a horse or a dog or cat or mouse, rabbits. I’ve got fish that I care for and they give me unconditional love back.
Then there’s the love of our world, of our planet. The things that we appreciate that we love every day, the fact that we have gardens, have the forests and the trees, whether we have running water. All of those things we love that make our lives complete, make our lives whole.
But if we don’t love ourselves first, how can we ever love anything else, anybody else, any other animal? We need to love ourselves. During this time we’ve not been chasing around and haven’t had to go to work and get on the tube or the buses, we’ve had more time at home. It actually made us think more about what we have and the things that are important to us, the things that we enjoy and love and not being able to have perhaps the freedom that we had before.
When all this began, we were told that we had to isolate ourselves, stay away from people, stay at home and don’t mix with our families. It was quite funny really because the battery on my watch stopped so I never knew what the time was. I’ve worn my watch every single day since I can remember. As I used to work in the community over the years, I always had to be at a certain place at certain times, so I was always watching and following the time. Then obviously not having the battery I thought how am I gonna know? To be honest now, I don’t even worry about the day. I know today is Sunday and I’m here doing the service but I mean during the week it doesn’t matter what day it is because all the days have been the same. Whether it’s 9 o’clock or 11 o’clock, it really doesn’t matter because there’s no schedule anymore. I haven’t got to be anywhere or pick something up or do something at a certain time.
What I’m saying is lots of good things have come out of this. As we carry it forward, as we’re allowed to mix more freely and see our families and our friends, I hope that we can carry some of the things that we’ve learned, some of the things that we’ve had time for while being home.
There’s an American lady called Maya Angelou, and she’s written some amazing things that I’ve been looking at. She’s on YouTube and I know she’s written some books and she’s very well known over there. She says Love liberates us, it doesn’t bind us, it doesn’t hold us back, it liberates us. And she tells the story of what happened in her life, and there’s another bit where she says, ‘And still, I rise’. No matter what happens to you and no matter what troubles and trials, the lessons in our life, we can always rise above it. We can always get back to being who we were before things happened to us.
Very recently, just a week or so ago, I lost a very dear friend. Even though I do this work and I fully believe in the Spirit World and know that life is everlasting, it still hurts. It still hurts. That love that we shared, that friendship that we shared for years. Obviously we miss that. We miss our friends and we miss our families.
But in the end, we always have to come back to our self-love. If we don’t love ourselves, how can we love others? We can torment ourselves and say, well I should be taller, I should be slimmer, perhaps I should have darker hair or my hair’s too curly, my hair’s too straight or my skin’s too fair or my skin’s too dark, my eyes are not big enough. Whatever it is. But we are all unique. We’re all different and we’re all unique. Before we can do anything about loving anybody else, we need to love ourselves and just hold onto that thought that we are perfect. We were made to be the way we are. So embrace that love and then we can share it with everybody, no matter who they are, whether it’s the man in the street, the neighbor next door, the postman, just give them a smile. And that love will radiate around the world, and therefore, we will all be in a much better place.
- Spiritual Address by Chris Gill, taken from Divine Service on 28th June 20
- Catch up and watch the service here.