February 26, 2016
“Love is all we need” – that was our theme for our recent Spiritual Friday. With Valentine's Day this month, I knew we had patients grieving lost love, regretting, self-loathing, and feeling very un-loveable. So, our focus was on self-love.
We began in our usual way with the Tibetan bells, spiritual reading, and meditation.
I wanted to make the day special for the patients so we began with the video "What Is Love Anyway?
I had a table full of craft supplies: paper, stickers, poems, angel cards, and markers. I asked the patients to make cards for a group of people that I love, a group that must remain anonymous; people who have suffered great pain, loneliness, depression; people who really needed love. I asked them to really make a sincere effort because it meant a lot to me and that I was very grateful for their help. We had a party with cupcakes as they created their cards and it was beautiful! I played a mix of songs with the theme of love and one of our patients requested Stevie Wonder's "My Cherie Amor".
I collected the cards at the end of our time together. Here is a sample of one of the "love notes":
“No matter what you've done you can know that you will always be loved. Your Higher Power loves you unconditionally and there's nothing you can do to change that. Your duty is to spread the infinite love that is within. That is how G-d manifests himself to us, through others, so the best way to honor G-d is to love others. Love you - spread the love."
Wow, the patients never cease to amaze me... better than Hallmark.
Then we watched two videos on self-love and they made a second card for themselves. I asked them to write themselves a love note and to keep it someplace safe, in their journals or Big Books, and to read it when they needed to.
I asked if anyone would be willing to read their notes with the group. Here are three:
You are a wonderful person with so much care and compassion and I want you to show yourself the same love you show others. You are smart and knowledgeable about a lot of subjects. You are very approachable and full of willingness to help others. I want you to take your many talents and use them to benefit yourself. Love yourself as you love others. I love you no matter what you do. Fix your mistakes and get over the small obstacles in your life so we can have a great loving relationship.
First and foremost, I'm sorry I've taken you through hell and back and yet you have yet to give up on or leave me. You're so much stronger than you give yourself credit for. I've shattered you and yet you still are managing to create such a beautiful masterpiece as you put yourself back together - I'll never give up on you.
P.S. You'll always know how beautifully broken you are."
"Let go. You deserve love, so do others. Erase your delusions. Change everything. Open your silence and suppression. Realize you are part of this world. Care how you are perceived. Share how you perceive yourself. Act with strength, bravery, and determination.
I love you."
I was really touched by how seriously they took this, how meaningful it was to listen to and witness.
The patients left with my note to them, which was a pink card with these words:
no matter what you do.
You are the gift
that G-d has given to the world.
He will never give up on you.
G-d has as much faith in you
As He has in Himself.
His love for you is not dependent
on anything you do,
any thought you think,
or any experience
through which you pass.
G-d's love is always a cause,
and never an effect.
He knows who you are,
and His gratefulness for you
is eternally, perfectly ensured.
Over the weekend, all the patients received a an angel card, a chocolate, and a special “love note” card. The cards they had made on Friday were for them.
Reverend Laurie Durgan