Love, the great enricher

WHEN you think about the things that enrich life -- nature's beauties, for example, or the arts or a lovely home -- when you consider each one, you quickly realize that they all pale before love. Love is the great enricher of life. Even more wonderful than being loved is to love. This is something no one can ever stop us from doing. Others may sometimes stop loving us, but we need never stop loving them. Shakespeare wrote: ``Love is not love/Which alters when it alteration finds/Or bends with the remover to remove.''1

``Human affection is not poured forth vainly, even though it meet no return,'' writes Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science. ``Love enriches the nature, enlarging, purifying, and elevating it.''2

I had always been deeply interested in music, and much of my happiness seemed to flow from this interest. There came a time, however, when things looked so dark that even music failed to bring comfort. It was then that I realized that a higher sense of love was the only answer. I had always known that God is Love and had often felt Love's healing power, but now I saw the need to express this Love more consistently if I would bring more harmony into my life. As I tried to do this, I began to experience a deeper and more stable peace.

We can never really lose love. In its highest sense, love is a spiritual quality, derived from God, and man as the spiritual image of God forever includes that quality, unceasingly feels and knows and expresses it. So it's natural for us to love. And to do so is to feel something of the infinite love of God. It's to discern His care and sustaining strength. The Bible assures us, ``God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.''3

Dwelling in love, we more readily recognize God as the natural and constant source of our provision. ``Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need,''4 Mrs. Eddy writes. Divine Love does not come to us from far off to meet our need; it is ever present. As we become aware of this presence through prayer and through expressing more and more of the divine nature in our love for others, our lives are immeasurably enriched and our needs are cared for.

There was a period when I felt very unappreciated. At the time I was doing much to help someone who had had a serious accident. Not only was he receiving help from me but family members were showering him with attention. After a while I began to feel neglected. I felt that no one appreciated my sacrifices, that they were taken for granted. I was complaining inwardly, though not audibly, and indulging in self-pity, even though outwardly I was expressing compassion.

This inner struggle went on for days. Finally I found myself confronting my motives: ``What are you doing all this for? In order to be thanked? Or because you truly love? Must you have human appreciation? God appreciates you. Isn't that enough?''

These arresting thoughts awakened me from my unpleasant dream of self-pity and resentment. I felt joyful and eager to express my love more fully.

The next day when I visited this individual I was amazed at the outpouring of appreciation I received. Although I had already been healed of feeling the need for this, I was grateful, nonetheless, for the affection, recognition, and gratitude expressed. Soon a letter arrived from one of the family members; it too expressed deep appreciation. This experience was a lesson to me that what we are responsible for is the love in our own hearts. When we give unselfishly, the riches of love flow back to us, but we don't need to know how or when.

Love is indeed the great enricher. To express something of divine Love, of the very source and substance of our being, is to bless humanity in a profound way and to find true happiness ourselves. Without some understanding of divine Love and the heartfelt expression of it, millions of dollars are meaningless, fame is meaningless, success isn't really success. Only a deep, spiritual love truly satisfies, comforts, nourishes, and enriches us.

1Shakespeare's Sonnets, No. 116. 2Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 57. 3I John 4:16. 4Science and Health, p. 494.

You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. I John 3:18

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