sunrise and frozen leaf
There are surely thousands of people out there who know about Kate Wolf and her song, "Give Yourself to Love." She lived from 1942 to 1986, and became quite a popular and successful folk musician during that time. Leukemia took her life at age 44. I had never heard of her or her music until I happened upon one of her songs in a piano book, then looked it up on youtube.
I heard "Give Yourself to Love" for the first time a few days ago, and now it keeps playing in my mind as a background soundtrack. She has a hauntingly beautiful voice, very calming and meditative. I also found the words moving - maybe it was that part about being up before the sunrise to watch the day begin.
The general message of the song is one of those sage and simple truths. It is also one I have tried to pass on to my children, and I had occasion to send this song to one of them just the other day.
So many of us get preoccupied with ourselves, and I am certainly no exception. Sometimes I forget to pay attention to other people, to my spouse, to what they are thinking and feeling and struggling with. Usually something finally gives me a knock on the head and I realize that I have not been giving myself to love. I've been putting love in a box on a shelf. I'll take it out when it's convenient for me. I'm busy right now.
Another big love blocker is protectivism. When people have been hurt, or when they are feeling insecure, vulnerable, threatened in some big or small way, the response so often is to build walls around their core being. They protect themselves from connecting too deeply to other human beings, and the result is an even deeper loneliness or even bitterness. To give yourself to love is risky. It means opening yourself up to the possibility of hurt. It means trusting. But it's worth it.
When you give a little gift for no reason, or ask how someone is doing and really mean it, or offer to keep someone company doing something they like (even if you don't), or give them a hug - that's giving yourself to love by actively joining in someone else's life. When you tell someone your sorrows, invite them to go with you somewhere, ask for their help with something - that's giving yourself to love by inviting someone into your life. In both cases, you are opening yourself to potential rejection, but you are also opening yourself to love. You have to do both, take the leap, hope for the best, and keep on trying and trusting, even if you experience some hurt along the way.
The alternative can be pretty cold and lonely.
Maybe Kate's motto should be "Give yourself to sticks"
Then again, she doesn't run for sticks unless someone is around. If you yell at her for jumping on you, she immediately runs for a stick and brings it to you. So maybe that is her own doggie way of giving herself to love, without bowling someone over.
I hadn't seen any wildlife out back for a long time, but there was a beautiful white tailed deer in the woods two days ago. There has also been a powerful musky scent in one area of the back field for weeks. It always gets the dogs' hackles up and they sniff feverishly around, but I don't know what beast has left its calling card.