Today, in Sherborne, Massachusetts, the divine dawn breaks both night's hold and my heart. The May light sews a hundred gold scarves & tosses them into the woods lassoing the grateful necks of every oak. One scarf dresses a female gingko in pale chiffon dotted with shape-shifting shadows. Near the hem of the 19th century home of landscape genius Frederick Law Olmsted (creator of Central Park), the same sun trims the tips of a choir of Bleeding Hearts.
This is magic. This is joy. It is painful. All loving care is like this.
Why must love demand so much of us? Why can't we limit love's divine magic so that it is all joy and no sorrow?
The key to our humanity is secreted in this conundrum. In the new land of artificial intelligence scientists create robots that do fantastical things. One thing robots will not experience is suffering. What inventor would program that awful feeling into a machine? Neither will anyone be able to conjure compassion into computers that are, by definition, heartless.
Robots can only mimic. "The ability to care is the hallmark of the human, the touchstone of morality and the ground of holiness," John O'Donohue wrote. "Without the warmth of care, the world becomes a graveyard. In the kindness of care, the divine comes alive in us."
At his fourth birthday my youngest grandson coughed. Glancing around the table he announced, "Hey everyone, the Birthday Boy coughed." In that divinely funny moment, he felt regal & so did we. What he knew is that we cared. What we all felt was the magic of the divine.
Today is his fifth birthday. He still embraces magic. May he discover, as an adult, that love's magic is divine.
Photograph, "Olmsted's Bleeding Hearts" by Erie