“I was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that I loved all these people…”
This weekend, we broke out the $30 pool we bought from Sam’s a couple years ago. My husband took it off a shelf in the garage, inflated it, and added a foot of cool water from the hose as the boys watched excitedly and impatiently with their noses pressed up against the window.
And then, as if unleashed from the boredom of a hot summer indoors, the three boys lunged outside towards the water. For hours they splashed and played as their feet became raisins and their faces pinked a little even in the shade.
I have no words to accurately describe the joy on their faces as they swam and wrestled and splashed themselves and the porch and me… immense joy from just a foot of water. At some point, my husband joined them and I took a moment to look at all four of my boys in the small inflatable pool faces lit up by the sun…
Thomas Merton had the words to describe moments like these so perfectly. But when he wrote them, he wasn’t just talking about family members. He wrote:
“In Louisville, at the corner of Fourth and Walnut, in the center of the shopping district, I was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that I loved all these people, that they were mine and I theirs, that we could not be alien to one another even though we were total strangers. It was like waking from a dream of separateness, of spurious self-isolation in a special world. . . . And if only everybody could realize this! But it cannot be explained. There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun.
Then it was as if I suddenly saw the secret beauty of their hearts… the core of their reality, the person that each one is in God’s eyes. If only they could all see themselves as they really are. If only we could see each other that way all the time.“
This morning my prayer is that we can see all those we encounter the way that Merton describes, the way I saw my family this weekend, the way that God sees all of us – shining brightly like the sun.
May we be overwhelmed by love.