“We are put on earth a little space,” said poet, William Blake, “that we may learn to bear the beams of love.”
What does it mean to “bear the beams of love?”
The Risk of Receiving It:
When the light of pure love shines brightly, our natural tendency is to scamper away like frightened mice and hole up in a good hiding place.
Hiding is much safer than loving. You can hide from a distance. If you’re going to love, you have to do that up close. This brings the possibility of pain. Loving and pain are Siamese twins; they’re always connected together.
The beams of love shine the light of truth on any given situation. Sometimes, we don’t want to know the whole truth. It’s too hard for us to accept. By lingering in the shadows, we do not have to face the brutal facts.
Exposing ourselves to beams of love brings a certain vulnerability and risk that many are unwilling to take.
You can hardly live without loving, however. A loveless life leads directly to despair. You might feel “safe” behind cast iron emotional walls – but you will be merely existing and not living.
The Burden of Bearing It.
Though taking liberty with Blake’s intentions, I find a second meaning in the phrase “bear the beams of love.”
This is thinking of them as burdens (logs or planks) rather than brightness(sunbeams.)
We are called to carry the heavy beams of love on our shoulders.
Here’s the truth of the matter: Love requires is to carry the burdens of others. Love is in the lifting! It goes much deeper than feelings of affection and fondness. Personal sacrifice is a part of the package.
“Let us not love with words only” the Bible reminds us, “but with action and with truth.”
Love is inconvenient. If you love people only at the convenience level, you’re not really loving – you’re just using them.
Genuine love is the selfless commitment to the other person’s good.
The beams of love are heavy – but somehow loving makes the lifting lighter. The extra mile doesn’t seem nearly as long when you have the right motivation for the walk.