Every so often on the labyrinth there were little stones with messages on them, one of which was "Love Freely Received, Love Freely Given". While I had seen this stone a number of times, something was opened in me on first day morning.
Usually when I see that phrase, I skip right to the "Love Freely Given" part, and I suspect many or most of us do. I think we want to picture ourselves in the place of giving. When we read about Jesus washing the feet of the disciples, do we tend to see ourselves in Jesus' place, or in the disciples place?
It seems hard to put ourselves in a position to receive love freely, without any obligation. Is it even possibly to truly give love freely without the love being freely received? If I do something out of love for someone else who then feels an obligation to me, then the love wasn't really free for that person, even though I expect nothing in return (assuming I am truly giving love that way). I need to learn to accept love that is freely given, without any worry about what I need to do for that person, or whether I am deserving of it, or whether it somehow means I am a helpless person.
The act of receiving love freely is also an act of giving love freely - I am allowing someone else to express their love towards me with total openness. Likewise, truly giving love freely is also an act of freely receiving the other person's gift of acceptance of that love.
Since this past first day, some lyrics from the B. B. King song "I Like to Live the Love" have been going through my head:
Every man or woman
Enjoys going home
To a peaceful situation
To give love
And receive love
Without any complications
My prayer for us as a religious body is that we learn to give love and receive love without any complications.