There’s a Lithaunian folk song called “In the Little Room” and it describes a conversation between a mother and her son from the perspective of someone watching them while tending to a fire. The mother asks her son, a soldier, why he is preparing to leave his homeland to die on a foreign country’s soil. She says to him, “Are you unhappy? Do you not have enough honour here?” He replies, ” What meaning does happiness and honour have for me if hundreds of others are suffering?” The last verse of the song paints a picture of the mother standing on a small hill, under a birch tree, crying quietly in the evening.
I sing this song to my son often as a lullaby and the words have deeply penetrated into my soul, and hopefully his.
These days our mainstream society is trying to convince us that it’s our happiness that matters. We’re taught that we are alone and must fight our own battles on the way towards success and fulfillment. The only thing that matters is that you win and that you take care of yourself, you can’t rely on anyone else.
This belief is fundamentally flawed; you will never be able to make yourself truly happy, you will never force meaning and joy into existence.
Joy is the byproduct of loving. It is not something that can be created, it is a gift we receive when we place another’s needs before our own, when we choose a life of selfless service.
The son in the song knows this. He’s not some extraordinary being, he is a man that realizes the simple truth that happiness can only exist in relationship to others. He is incapable of flourishing in a land where many are struggling. The only way to his own well-being is by choosing to give his life in service to his fellow-man, his brothers and sisters.
We are all connected and to grow we must turn our energy outward in love and service to those around us. Flowers bloom outward (both above the ground and beneath the earth). If the energy flow went inward, they would die.
We are dying. We are dying because we are failing to accept this fundamental truth – we need each other to live because we need each other to love. I cannot love myself, it is through loving you (love is a verb, an action, a way of being) that I grow and gain the true riches as promised to me by our Divine Creator.
We need each other to live because we need each other to love.
It really is that simple. I often think of this as circle of humans in which everyone is sitting on the person behind them’s knees. Each person is simultaneously holding someone else up while being held up themselves.
If we all commit to actions that help others flourish, we will also flourish – it’s guaranteed, just have a little faith 🙂
I think this is a great intention for 2019…