Love under Pressure

The Gift

 Be still my soul, and steadfast.

Earth and heaven both are still watching

though time is draining from the clock

and your walk, that was confident and quick,

has become slow.


So, be slow if you must, but let

the heart still play its true part.

Love still as once you loved, deeply

and without patience. Let God and the world

know you are grateful.

That the gift has been given.

~Mary Oliver


The gift of love has indeed been given. It has been “imparted” to us. Its capacity knows no bounds. It is available to us and is all around us, like the atmosphere.

So, what holds us back?

Why must people go to such extreme lengths, just to get a little love?

What keeps us from experiencing, giving and receiving the love of God?

One thing might be the idea that there is limited supply. If you think that if you give it away it will be gone from you, or that you won’t have “enough” left, then yes, you will hold back.

Another thing is “pressure.” When we are under pressure to perform, to get things done, to maximize our time and energy, we don’t have “time” to be compassionate, or generous, or even kind. And we have the idea somewhere, that some day, when things “slow down” or we have a break, we’ll have the opportunity to extend ourselves to others, to be generous and loving.

But when someone dies, we all manage to drop everything and ask what we can do. We come with open arms and open hearts to the funeral home to lend a hand or a supportive hug, or some food, or to share our grief. And it seems as though that love, which has been “held back” and bottled up for so long, gets “released.” It finds a way. It flows freely and we notice that there is a strange joy, a wonderful joy in the midst of our sorrow. And we feel guilty about that because we are supposed to be sad. But there is this wonderful feeling of community and shared love and closeness which has come about because people dropped what they were doing and said, “I will be there for you. This is more important.”

Love, the gift, has been freely given to us by Christ. It is always there, waiting to be tapped. We have only to stop what we are doing for a moment and decide that the one who needs us, the one standing in front of us, is more important than our agenda. We slow down, take a breath, listen to what is being asked of us, and find out that love doesn’t go away, but keeps coming, in overflowing abundance. Love under pressure is the hardest thing there is, but it makes for a really good practice!

by Carol Kelly


One thought on “Love under Pressure

  1. Carol, I remember distinctly sitting with friends of my father after he died and the wonderful conversations and feeling the love and joy. If this could be a daily reality! At times it returns. Very insightful piece. Thanks

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