Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Road

The beginning of the road called Love is so attractive that many people choose it. Not everyone does, of course, some prefer the golden road of Greed, or the stark, twisting road of Power, and others are drawn to Knowledge, or Pleasure or even choose to go nowhere at all. But it starts in wide meadows of flowers and soft sunshine, and many think that they have arrived when they have barely passed the entry point, and sit around in easy groups making daisy chains. What becomes of them when the storms gather, and the cracking lightning sizzles across the open fields, I do not know, but perhaps they have to make a real choice for the first time in their lives.

But the meadows are only the beginning of the road. It continues. Fairly soon (though sooner for some than for others, but such is the nature of the road) another road branches off, broad and fair, There is a row of fine hotels there, which cost almost nothing to inhabit. Many turn aside there, for surely this is a pleasant place to go, and look what pleasant people are already there. And every hotel is called ‘Nice’. And those that turn off at this point keep straying further, for each hotel seems more agreeable than the one before, and they are so pleased with themselves for becoming ‘nice’ people, that they do not even notice that each hotel is made of thinner and thinner cardboard.

But the road called Love continues, and gradually the travellers notice that three possibilities have developed. On the right hand side the road surface goes harder and smoother. Eventually it veers off from the road called Love, into Moralism. Those who take that exit will find it leads them at last to a stern wilderness strewn with rocks. As fast as they try to build themselves shelters there from the rocks, they pull them off again in order to throw them at one another. On the other edge, the left side, the path gets softer and softer, until your feet start to sink into it like sand. Eventually this veers off into the road called Tolerance, and those who follow it end up in a slow quicksand. Because they are all sinking they cannot pull each other out.

Meanwhile, shed of these diversions, the road named Love continues. It is narrower now, and goes more steeply. Sometimes it is so steep that one has to use both hands and feet to climb it. Sometimes it is so narrow it feels like walking a tightrope. Many turn back or stop when they reach those places. Some even devote themselves to telling others not to go there, “it’s too dangerous”. They do not understand that, though there may be scrapes and bruises, no one can ever fall very far. There is always a safety net: the Everlasting Arms are stretched to catch any who lose their footing, and lift them up once again.

At last, and the road is a different length for every traveller, they reach the summit of the road. It is a stark, bare hill, surmounted with a cross. By this time the journey has changed the traveller, and they rarely hesitate. Willingly they climb up to the cross, willingly they embrace it. And the moment that should be death becomes the moment of transformation, for the road of Love is the road to LOVE, LOVE in all its fullness, and they know themselves truly to be the beloved of the Beloved.

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