Saturday, September 10, 2005

love's grace

God forbid your heart should find another home,

Or, far from mine, turn hesitant in love.

Your stream alone has fed my eyes as they flowered;

You are the streak of my tears, and my heart's power.

#1095: From Rumi's Kolliyaat-e Shams-e Tabrizi

Search word: home

I'm going out again today and, really, I crave to stay at home. My adventurous spirit is being overpowered by my stay-at-home side. Still, I will go out even if it must be under protest.

Rumi turns out to be astonishingly vulnerable here, so dependent on his beloved's return of love. It is this love affair that inspires the flowering of his consciousness, that keeps him seeing new things in the world, and keeps expanding his circle of love and of human communication through his poetry. Here, God is imagined as being the agent that holds the two lovers together, even across vast distances of time and space and essential human differentness. Shams was, for Rumi, both a friend (or companion-lover) and a teacher (or figure of higher authority). Here the latter "higher" role is assigned to God while the love bond is emphasised. That love bond is so fragile for "I" cannot control the love of the "other". The "I" can only express its gratitude and joy at being loved by the "other", at receiving love's inspiration, and it can only beg the higher powers to help keep things that way.

Within Christianity we speak of God's grace and that is very similar, I think. God's grace is not something we can call upon or expect. When it comes, we can recognise it and be thankful. However, we can never be sure when it will come or even whether it will at all in any given circumstance. It is a lot like luck except that we should accept both good luck and bad since both come from the same source after all. Rumi hints at that in this verse since he expresses gratitude, not only for love's power but also for love's tears. True love embraces both the heaven and the hell of human intimacy.

Yesterday, I carried out my refusal and I am glad in a way but also sorry. There was a human connection beginning there, fine threads of intimacy. It was sad to break them off. No decision is ever 100% correct or without at least some small downside. However, this one has been made and it's time now for me to move on.


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