In Atlas of the Heart, the very wise Brené Brown writes
‘We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness, and affection.
‘Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can be cultivated between two people only when it exists within each one of them—we can love others only as much as we love ourselves.
‘Shame, blame, disrespect, betrayal, and the withholding of affection damage the roots from which love grows. Love can survive these injuries only if they’re acknowledged, healed, and rare.’
Today my mind turns to Luke 2:7, where we are told that Mary brought forth her firstborn son and wrapped him and laid him in a manger because there was no topos, no place, for them in the space set apart for offering hospitality for the night to strangers passing through on a journey. Such hospitality can certainly cultivate love, but the topography of the nativity, as might be charted in some atlas of the heart, is the timeless covenant love God has for David, the shepherd-songwriter-general-king. This child shall be called the Son of David, shall be loved, and love, and know betrayal, and healing. His mother shall love and know love and have her heart pierced by a sword. Yet love will survive its injuries. And, one day, love will have grown so large that it encompasses all in her embrace. While we wait for that day, what might you do, today, to cultivate love?
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