We need on ramps to love. Sometimes love is flowing and sometimes not. We find some people hard to love. When we’re in a hurry, any tendency to spiritual blindness increases. And how many of us have learned to step aside from the hurry in the face of all the crisis aspects of modern life?
To love divinely is an achievement. How many of us spontaneously wake up loving and go through the day effectively motivated by love? The law of love is a revelation of how the spirit world operates under the leadership of our heavenly Father. Love is patient. (Do we ever wish, in effect, that God would interfere with the freedom of some of his children who do atrocious things?)
I grew up with the command to love God and the neighbor. It wasn’t a stern commandment with a furrowed brow and a threat behind it. It was simply a teaching, a very prominent teaching. Sometimes I loved, sometimes not. But I felt the force of the duty to an extent that partially impeded my ability to experience love’s spontaneity. I needed an on ramp to love.
Later I found one. I discovered that when love is not flowing, we can’t manufacture it. But we don’t need to, because it’s already there inside. We just have to go within to the Father’s spirit source of love and wait . . . in faith and expectation . . . as long as it takes.
Growing more, I began to discover more on ramps in passages that inspired me with sequences that I could learn to follow, which culminated in love. For example, suppose we’re having difficulties in a group, a conflict between your personal ideals and what dominant others are obliging us to do. Sometimes we stand up for our own convictions; at other times we go along with fairly reasonable demands; on other occasions we work out a compromise. And through it all, we grow. We gradually develop loyalty, fairness, tolerance, and love. I have found that this sequence to be helpful to me as an on ramp. It supports us in our loyalty to our highest convictions, while obliging us to be fair in our assessment of other people. And sometimes we have to put up with things that are not our first choice—we have to bear them, which is what the etymology of the word tolerance implies. By the time that we’ve remembered the three preliminary virtues, it becomes a whole lot easier to love.
I will mention one more: truth, beauty, and goodness is a major on ramp. That’s the integrating, culminating conclusion of my new book, Living in Truth, Beauty, and Goodness.
What I like best about the lovely photograph that I found to symbolize any effective on ramp to love is that the ramp itself is beautiful and flowing, just like the highway to which one is seeking access.