Near death and suffering from a brain tumor the great writer Raymond Carver wrote this poem, "Late Fragment" to his wife, Tess:
And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.
It's a lovely writing, speaking brilliantly to the criticality of Love in our lives, particularly as to whether we allow ourselves to feel "beloved on the earth."
But, what happens if we are unable to accept that we are loved? I can see one answer to that question in the life of the prisoner I visit each week on Death Row.
He has never received Love and therefore has trouble feeling beloved (not to mention calling himself such.) This may be the reason why Glen has done so many mean things in his life.
Love breeds Love. It's absence nurtures hate and anger and gives birth to fear.
When I first saw him two years ago, a thick piece of glass separating the two of us, one of the first things Glen told me was: "Don't expect me to trust you, Erie. No one has ever trusted me and I don't trust nobody."
It's an understandable attitude, isn't it?
If Love cannot find a pathway through us how can we, as caregivers, be healers to those in need?
If we have never found a way to love ourselves perhaps Carver's lines can point us towards the permission we need to love and feel ourselves beloved in our brief journey on this earth.