Many years ago now, I went on my first retreat. In the middle of the second day we were sent out to find a quiet place and make a list of all the things we loved. My list was long. My husband and children were on the list, of course, and God and Jesus. But there was so much more - roses, poppies, horses, rain, Paris, raspberries, people, fire, swimming, cats, meadows, dancing, tennis, parties, wine, books, oh, so many things.
Then after a time we were called back in and asked to look over our list and pick three things which were the most important. That was more difficult. I cheated a bit on the first two choices. And the third choice was a surprise to me. 1. God/Jesus 2. Bruce/the children. 3. People.
Then we were asked to choose from the list the one thing we could not live without.
I looked at that list for the longest time until it occurred to me that the thing with which I could not live without was not on the list at all, not even on the original long list.
The thing without which living would not be possible was the idea that Jesus was wrong, and that love was not the way. Without that as my compass, without the suridy of that thought, life would have no meaning.
Love is the way. Compassion is the only choice. I have staked my life on this. And more, I have staked the lives of those I love on it.
Still, it is not always an easy path to follow.