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An overflow of love
A good friend and I were discussing the essence of love one day, and we both realized that love is the quality that everyone most longs to feel each day because it has the power to uplift, encourage, regenerate, and heal. At the same time, though, love also often seems to be the source of fear, pain, and anxiety—especially when a cherished relationship comes to an end. This apparent paradox challenged me to think more deeply about what love really is. Could the same quality that makes one feel valued and strengthened also cause one to feel incomplete and broken?
Well, the simple reality is that it can’t. Love is the loveliness of God’s creation, reflecting only good. This good is manifested in joy, unity, abundance, courage, and spiritual strength—qualities that are present at every moment. Love could not also produce discord, separation, or lack. Mary Baker Eddy wrote in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, “The depth, breadth, height, might, majesty, and glory of infinite Love fill all space” (p. 520). With all space filled with Love, there simply isn’t room for anything else.
So what about the claim that when we enter a relationship with another person (whether it’s familial, platonic, or romantic), our supply of love is increased, and then decreased when we part ways?
This limited sense of love starts from the premise of individual human egos, personalities, opinions, and compatibilities. However, true spiritual love comes from the foundation that God is the only cause and creator. As God’s children, we’re already complete spiritual ideas, and always will be. It can be so easy to believe that our lives are less complete or purposeful without a certain person—but that mind-set misses the most beautiful of all blessings God bestows on us: an infinite, spiritual love. Love is never increased and then decreased, obvious and then hidden, tangible and then illusive. Love is filling every heart and every room in God’s kingdom each and every moment.
I often think back to the cherished relationship I had with my grandmother. My gramma loved Christian Science, family, and cooking. When I was in high school, I would drive her to church on Sunday mornings after we had breakfast together at her home. I cherished the conversations we had while I indulged in chocolate-chip waffles and while I drove her to and from church. The conversations usually consisted of her telling me stories about her and my grandfather raising five kids, and about how turning to God for direction in times of need yielded many memorable healings. Our relationship was an exchange of a spiritual love that glorified God above all else. She was always nurturing me—not just with a delicious breakfast, but with a love for God that would bless my life continuously. She loved me so much that she wanted me to love God just as much as He loves me. This was the best gift she could have ever given me.
When I was a junior in college, I visited my gramma in a Christian Science nursing facility when I was on break from school. This time, the roles were the reverse of what they had been four years earlier. She was eating lunch, and I was sharing with her the abundance of God’s love that was continuously enriching her as a spiritual idea. In my eyes, our relationship had come full circle, as we both cared primarily for the other’s spiritual growth and reflection of God’s true nature. There was no sense of brokenness when she passed away a couple of days later, because I knew the substance of our relationship was grounded in God and could never pass away.
Mrs. Eddy wrote these comforting words in her poem titled “Love,” which is set to music as a hymn:
Fed by Thy love divine we live,
For Love alone is Life;
And life most sweet, as heart to heart
Speaks kindly when we meet and part.
(Christian Science Hymnal, No. 30)
I’ve learned a lot about God’s love from my relationship with my gramma. That relationship has shown me that God’s love cannot possibly be the cause of anything but goodness, completeness, and happiness. As we meet new people, we can cherish each individual for the full expression of God that they truly are. And as we let divine inspiration guide our course, we can always love everyone as they really are, because we love God as He is.