“He moved closer to Mercier who stepped back vividly. “I just wanted to hug you” Camier said ‘I’ll do it some other time, when you feel better, if I remember’” (Samuel Backett, “Mercier et Camier")
In between a rock song and a pint of beer, I sometimes tend to get lost in existential speculations such as “What is the mystery of the blessed Trinity and how does it manifest in our daily life? How can we balance strenght and grace, compassion and healthy detachment? What can I wear for uncle Bob’s birthday party on Saturday night?”
These powerful questions are weighed up by my mind with an impressive calm and lucidity, whereas my body usually does something else entirely : I brush my teeth, I change my cat’s litter box or I prepare my morning coffee. By the way, some days ago, a friend of mine added fuel to the fire by posting the following ‘little question’ on our online study group: “What is the Energy of Love? Where does It come from and how does It express Itself?” Of course I have no answers to such question. I would only risk to belittle it, especially if I tried to put together some pompous words and bombastic expressions.
Then, one evening, I had an amazing, enlightening dinner. My mother had given me a pot with some boiled chicken inside, because, I had my nth stomachache as usual. As I was reaching my hand for the little pot, I suddenly and unexpectedly ‘felt’ my mother’s love. It was as if a warm ray of light got out of that container which until then had been in the fridge. “My mother!” as Johnny Stecchino in Benigni’s movie would say. Although she is pretty sick and full of problems, she anyway takes care of me before caring for herself.
From that holy instant of love perception, the thought spontaneously extended to the person I was then pretty angry with, someone I thought intentionally hurt me and who I hated the best I could. With my mind’s eye I saw him in my same situation: at home, maybe alone, with a boiled chicken pot in front of him, which his mother lovingly cooked for him.
I saw him so innocent, helpless, human - so similar to me. I saw a person with his own difficulties, his sunrises and sunsets, his lights and shadows and it came to me that I might have been just the catalyst of his negatives, unfortunately. I felt compassion, which is not pity; it has more the flavor of tenderness, respect, complicity, intimacy. What is love? Well, whoever am I to know that. Or, whoever am I NOT to know that. What I felt, that sweet melting of my inner barriers and the dissolution of my mental cloudiness, is probably as close as I can get to love right now. It may sound like a second-class feeling but it’s still better than judgement, bitterness or grudge. After all, it’s better to start honestly from where we are…and evidently I’m at the boiled chicken.
PS: The chicken, in all this non-vegetarian context, is undoubtedly the one who has manifested the greatest degree of love. Bless his bones!
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