God Is Love
man named Levi wrote today and asked about Nora's News. He was worried
that since I hadn't written anything since the September 11th attacks
that maybe something had happened. Levi, we're all okay. Our offices
are located in midtown Manhattan, away from the downtown area where
the tragedy occurred.
Since that day, I tried
so many times to begin writing again but nothing came. I felt somehow
that I had to be a listener rather than yet one more talker. I wondered
if perhaps it was meant to be a time of profound listening.
For two months, I listened
to so many people talking, so many ideas, opinions, conclusions,
assessments, speculations, analysis', declarations. Very little
of what I've heard brought me any comfort. Nor did it resonate with
much wisdom. My heart ached listening to the stories of families
and friends closely effected by the tragedy, and I had many good
cries. But still, I had no "ideas."
was one of profound silence. There seemed to be no idea that I could
find within myself, nor one that I heard from any one else, that
could express or comprehend the magnitude of what happened. So,
I listened, waiting to hear, through the noise, the sound of something
that I might recognize as being Truly meaningful. I suspect it will
take years, if ever, for this deeper, truer idea to fully emerge.
Maybe because of my utter
lack of "thoughts on the matter" a sense of space opened
up inside me. But still, no words to write. I go to my dad who encourages
me, "Nora, all you can write is what you see."
Out of the horrific
destruction I witnessed, I had a strange, yet very clear, experience.
It's something that I've yet to hear anyone talk about on television
or on the radio. It's something that's gone strangely unnoticed
or unheard by even those who were covering, and continue to cover, "the story" second by second. It was a recognition of
something - a sense of something - that I will try to give words
to. And I want to just tell Levi, I guess this is for you. Since
As I watched
the tragedy unfold, I became tuned in to the voices of the people
in the towers and of their final words. These words were literally
amplified in my ears. Over and over and over again I heard
the exact same words flooding the cell phones and the answering
machines of the families of the victims. As I sat listening, I wondered,
and still wonder, did anyone else hear what I heard?
The words were
powerful and clear. They came through repeatedly, like an unbelievably
clear message coming through cosmic speakers from some unknown realm
that contained the weight of a Truth recognized and realized. Their
words expressed the spontaneous summation of their lives. And to
me, it sounded like they were telling us all the Conclusion of all
their varied experiences and understandings. A true teaching which
I will never forget.
The last words of the people
that died September 11th stunned me. They were simply, "I just
wanted to tell you, I love you."
The finality and utter completeness
of those words continue to be with me and remain my deepest experience
of September 11th.
It reminded me of a dream
I had a few years ago. In the dream I was dying and a voice asked
me "who did you love?". I was very surprised because that
was the only question they asked! They didn't ask "what
did you do?". They didn't ask "were you successful?".
They didn't ask "did you clean your house," or "are
you a college graduate?" All they wanted to know was "who
did you love?" And, quite literally, they wanted the whole
list! I realized that, in the moment when your whole life passes
before you in an instant, your life will be defined solely by who
you loved, literally nothing else.
I have a painting my
father did in the early 50's, just about the time he realized that
he was suffering the symptoms of Huntington's Disease. On it he
writes in large, broad strokes the words "God Is Love."
At just about the same time
"God is Love.
God is really love.....
Love is all force.
Love is all power.
Love is all energy.
Love is all strength.
Love is all health.
Love is all beauty.
Love is all good work well done.
Love is all fun.
Love is all pleasure, all joys known.
Love is all eternity.
Love is here now.
Love makes all things one thing."
(You can find the entire
13 page piece in Pastures of Plenty, pgs. 226 - 238. You might want
to spend some time with it. I suppose you could spend the rest of
your life with it!)
Is there anyone out there
that truly believes this? I don't mean who just likes it as poetry.
I don't mean that you think it's a pretty sentiment. I mean, scientifically
does anyone believe this to be true?
What did he mean? How
did he know this? Could it be true? Is this worth investigating?
.... If God is Love,
then is the inverse also true, Love is God? And would that then
mean that anything, anywhere by anyone that
is not a total act of love, then that act has nothing whatsoever
to do with God? Is it possible that if God is Love, and we become
Loving, that we actually become God? And if God is Love, and Love
is all Power, is it therefore comprehensible that the most powerful
weapon against hatred, scientifically, is Love? And if this
God-Love-Power is also all Force, is it conceivable that we might
somehow harness this Force and direct its Power back to Love to
realize God? ....
I remember the
voices and the messages from the inferno again, and it strikes me
that no ones last words were "kill those bastards!", "revenge
me!", "go get'em!". The words they spoke were completely
isolated from all our darker thoughts and feelings. As if they were
purposely separated for us to hear.
"Love casts out hate.
Love gets rid of all fears.
Love washes all clean.
Love forgives all debts.
Love forgets all mistakes.
Love overcomes all errors and excuses and pardons and understands
the key reasons why the mistake, the error, the stumble, the sprawl,
the fall, was made."
I'm left wondering if
this journey that we are all on, whether through our personal experiences,
our personal relationships, our individual work, our politics, our
religions, all of our seekings will lead to a same final conclusion,
this final expression. With so much going on, is there ultimately,
as Woody wrote, only ONE thing going on?
Could it all
be that frighteningly simple? Could it be that everything we disagree
and argue about, all of our conflicting conclusions and beliefs,
ultimately come to naught? Could it be that all the varied things
we are doing here, with all the seemingly opposing lines of thinking
we are following, ultimately lead us to the same, unified conclusion?
Is it possible that all these differences literally evaporate
the moment we realize we are no longer going to be part of the intense
drama of life?
Is it possible that when
life ends we will "get it". I wonder what life would be
like if we "got it" now, if Love became the active and
predominant ingredient of all our choices, our expressions, our
relationships, our politics and our religions.
And is it possible that
the last words all of us will want to speak will be "I love
you" as we have to read off the list of names with no other
words allowed to be spoken or entered in the record? And will we
wonder "why didn't I get this sooner? Why can't I begin again,
right now, with this burst of love? Can I get a reprise, a "do-over"" ?
The final words
of the victims, the stories of love from their families and friends,
my father's final thoughts, and dreams all lead me to wonder even
harder if Love itself is the destination of Life itself. And,
if that is so, then Life does not really even begin until
I thank the ones who've
left us for allowing me to hear their most personal and private
words of love. I want them to know that my memorial and tribute
to them will be to let them know that I heard them. I am Their
*All words are copyrighted
by Woody Guthrie Publications. Any use without permission is illegal.