May 2
Let us labor to make the heart
grow larger as we become
older, as spreading oak
gives more shelter.

Richard Jeffries


Today's Meditation:

I'm growing older, and I want something to show for it.  For all the years I've spent going through joys and sorrows, ups and downs, defeats and victories, I want the world to see that I've come through it all a better person, that I've grown and developed into someone who lets the lessons of life reach deep inside of me and turn me into a wiser, more caring person.  What better indication of having worked hard to improve than having a large heart?

The world's religious, spiritual, and poetic traditions have pointed to the heart as the center of our love and compassion, and modern science is working towards verifying that focus as being accurate (see the documentary I Am, for example).  If I can work towards developing a more loving and compassionate heart, then I can work towards making this world a better place, tiny bit by tiny bit.

I would like to be an oak tree, giving shelter to picnickers and people seeking shelter from rainstorms and intense sun, but I'm a person, not a tree.  So to have a heart that spreads love and compassion as an oak spreads its leaves to provide protection and shade is the next best thing, and I know that the only way I can accomplish this is to work at it.  If I want to be as an oak, then I must constantly make decisions to say things that are kind and compassionate instead of clever, to listen instead of speaking when necessary, to provide people with a safe haven instead of a threatening presence.

"To make the heart grow larger"--what a marvelous concept!  The contribution that I can make to the world with a larger heart will be something much more expansive than any that I can make without preparing my heart beforehand, for I do have to get my heart ready.  When an oak gives shelter, it gets rained on itself.  When I provide shelter for someone else, I need to be ready to deal with problems head-on as I help someone else work through their problems.  But as I grow older, I see few things more important than helping other people to make their ways through their lives.

Questions to consider:

What kind of labor can we pursue to make our hearts grow?

What are some benefits of providing shelter for others? 

Imagine yourself as an oak--which people would you most want to shelter?  Why?

For further thought:

From this day forward,
You shall not walk alone.
My heart will be your shelter,
And my arms will be your home.



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