A Change of View

Generally, I believe that being issues in doing. Who I am (my human essence) manifests itself in what I do (my behavior). Nevertheless, it also seems to me (indeed, I have come to see), that when I love less (that is, fail to act with unconditional, self-sacrificial benevolence toward others) then I become…I am loveless.

© 2022 PRA

#loveisactive #loveisaction

7 thoughts on “A Change of View

  1. This observation deserves some considerable thought and prayer, Paul. Being…. doing. Doing….. being. Which comes first, and what are the consequences for being when doing does not follow the being? Perhaps approaching it grammatically sheds some light: Can the word “love” ever really be a noun? Is there such an object, state, or condition as love if there is no action of love? I can’t imagine that there is. I don’t think love can ever be still or dormant. It must move or it ceases to be. It must act in order to exist at all. I note your hashtag #loveisaction. That says it all, I think.

    If our being rests in love, it is not merely being; it is also doing love. Perhaps if God really is love, this paradox describes the nature of God. God is not a being; God is a doing, and the doing is love. If we “do” love, we contribute to the ongoing creation not only of ourselves, but of God in the world we know. It brings to mind Richard Rohr’s oft-repeated conception of the Trinity, which emphasizes not the three “beings” in one that are said to be make up Trinity, but that the whole point of the Trinity is the ongoing flow of relationship/love among the three, which is the “one” part of the paradoxical definition. Without the flow, there would be three lonely static objects who would possess no unity and no power. And the stillness among them in that case is not only a negation of doing; it becomes a negation of being as well.

    Maybe the underlying truth is that our lonely pinpoint selves cannot show up as being unless we engage in action that moves outside the pinpoint. BEING alone is pointless. It is love – choosing to act with regard, respect, and beneficence toward something or someone outside ourselves – that engages and results in God’s ongoing creation of us as beings and enables God’s ongoing development as the moving force that underlies all that is – love.

    Thank you for helping me engage with these thoughts this morning, Paul. I think the energy you prompt with your always earnest and relevant words is so terribly needed in the world as it is today.

    Much love and gratitude, as always,

    Karen

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  2. Always, my dearest Karen, I thank you. Foremost, for you (I smile at myself, for this expression of gratitude distinctly and definitely relates to the reality of your being!). Also, for you always reflective and thought-provoking commentary (again, I smile, for my thanksgiving here regards your doing!). I very much like your formulation: If our being rests in love, it is not merely being; it is also doing love. Perhaps if God really is love, this paradox describes the nature of God. God is not a being; God is a doing, and the doing is love. If we “do” love, we contribute to the ongoing creation not only of ourselves, but of God in the world we know. I also like your recount of Rohr’s vision of the Trinity, which, surely, I believe, is solidly biblical and, as I (think I) recall goes back, at least, to St. Augustine who considered the Holy Spirit, pre-eminently to be Love, for the Spirit was/is the spirit of both Father and Son and, thus, is the binding element/agent of the Trinity eternal, ever-flowing love-relationship.

    Somewhere, I think, in the annals of philosophy, we humans made and continue to make a distinction between our being (our “esse” or essence) and the necessary byproducts of our being, that is, our doing (which involves thinking and feeling, intending and acting). It is, in one sense, it seems to me, a false distinction. For our human beingness and doing always are drawn together inextricably (and, perhaps, in a cosmic sense, indistinguishably) in the individual.

    All that said — and put aside — yes, love is a verb. I suppose love can be conceived as a noun, that is, a thing, only because it has been demonstrated, that is, shown, proven to exist by virtue of action (as I favor describing it: unconditional, self-sacrificial benevolence toward and for others).

    Always and in all ways, love,
    Paul

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  3. Paul and Karen, WOW this was amazing. I read this earlier today then the day got away from me!! Which was good because I got to ponder all that you both have written…. Love really is a verb for me, it’s something I consciously DO every day! Even though I live alone and I’m not in a loving relationship with a spouse or partner, I still DO love every day. It’s in the email responses I send to folks who have a question about caregiving, so someone who shares a kind word with me.

    Being and Doing are so important to me. I always seem to be doing something and being something but one of the things I’m studying right now is WHO I am right now, now that I’m essentially an orphan and no longer a caregiver. It’s a necessary exploration for me and I’ll let you both know how it turns out.

    Much love!

    Loretta

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    1. Loretta, yours is a powerful witness, both for others and to yourself. Your awareness of being an orphan truly, deeply resonates within me. It is precisely the way I described (and continue to describe) myself following my mother’s death early in 2015, preceded by the deaths of my brother and father in 1995 and 1996, respectively. So, yes, please, keep Karen and me in your loving information-loop as you explore this new terrain of your being and doing.

      Love you, always and in all ways,
      Paul

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      1. Thank you Paul!! WILL!! And Karen and I will be doing some exploring together as I’m heading to spend four days with her (and family ) next Sunday!! She and I were just emailing about our planned activities and one of the things I mentioned about my trip is that I’ll be able to take some “healing breaths” which is somewhat difficult to do here surrounded by a zillion memories of Mom.

        Stay tuned & much love!

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      2. And the only thing that would make Loretta’s visit better would be if you (and Pontheolla!) were going to be here too, Paul. We three orphans together would have some deep and insightful discussions, I have a feeling! Maybe someday that can happen.

        Love to you both,

        Karen

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      3. Ah, my dearest Karen, what a grand day AND reunion that would be!

        Love

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