by Beverly Hutchinson McNeff
Since we are all staying home more and watching streaming channels on television, I happened to see, once again, the movie, What’s Love Got to Do With It? It’s the life story of singer Tina Turner: Her rise to fame, her detour into fear, and her re-emergence as she recognized her worth through love.
As a child, Tina had an extraordinary voice, and when she met her husband-to-be, Ike Turner, “a star was born.” Her life was not easy. Although Ike taught Tina the business, he also gave her “the business:” his abusive nature left Tina with physical and mental scars.
It was through the help of a friend that Tina found a purpose and value to her life. Her friend introduced her to Buddhism, and she told Tina of a Zen chant that describes how lilies grow in mud and the deeper and thicker the mud, the more beautiful the lily. Tina had been living in “thick, deep mud,” but she had the potential of becoming the beautiful “lily,” as she learned to love and value herself. Love allowed Tina Turner to blossom into a strong woman and phenomenal singer.
Love is the most powerful agent in our lives. Love is a gift from God — it is the igniting spark that reminds us that we are never separate from our Source. A Course in Miracles tells us that love is our strength, but many in the world see love as naïve and weak, “You associate love with weakness and hatred [attack] with strength, and your own real power seems to you as your real weakness.” (T-13.III.3:2)
And yet, love is enduring and attack is fading. Most of us can barely remember hearing of the Holy Wars that were fought in the name of God, but we remember the life of Jesus because of the powerful example of love that he demonstrated. He taught that there is no greater power on this earth than love. Every step of his life he answered attack with love, fear with love, persecution with love, abandonment with love, torture with love, and even “death” with love. He not only knew the secret to overcoming this world, but the secret to transcending this world; through the power of love. Because of love, the message of Jesus has lasted and will last because love is eternal. Nothing in this world can destroy the truth of love.
We can experience the same power, the same love that Jesus demonstrated and lived. He wills that we be like him, for Jesus is incomplete without us, and we are incomplete without him. But we must make the choice to experience love in our lives.
Charles Fillmore, co-founder of the Unity School of Christianity wrote, “We may talk about the wisdom of God, but the love of God must be felt in the heart.”
The Bible says, “…let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and truth.” (1 John 3:18)
A Course in Miracles says, “Love will enter immediately into any mind that truly wants it, but it must want it truly.” (T-4.III.4:7)
To unleash the power of love in our lives, we must stop simply giving “lip service” to it and instead start applying love to every issue and relationship in our lives. A Course in Miracles says, “When you want only love you will see nothing else.” (T-12.VII.8)
If we truly want love in our lives, we must realize that we are deserving of love. This means we must be willing to extend love to all of God’s children, and not to just the ones that seem acceptable to us. If we want to experience love in our lives we have to “put our money where our mouth is.” We have to be willing to give and receive only love.
No matter the circumstance, no matter the injustice, no matter the issue, the power of love can heal and help us to become the miracle workers we are called to be.
During his early work with A Course in Miracles, Dr. Ken Wapnick lived in an apartment in New York City. One late night he was awakened by someone standing in his room. He was momentarily shocked, as he sat up in bed, and then a thought from the Course entered his mind, “there is nothing to fear.” (W-48) He calmly asked, “What can I do for you?” The man was clearly on drugs and was searching for money; he held his hand in his pocket as if he were carrying a gun. But the defenselessness of Ken seemed to change the air in the room and the man soon began to apologize for waking Ken up.
Ken gave him whatever money was in his wallet, but the man gave him a few dollars back saying, “This is all your money; I can’t leave you with nothing.” Ken assured him it was okay and urged him to do what he had to do. He ushered the man into the hall and waited with him for the elevator. As the burglar got on the elevator Ken said to him. “God bless you.” To which the man replied, “Please pray for me.” Ken told the man he would, and as Ken related in his book Forgiveness and Jesus (in which this story is found), “I knew that this holy encounter had been the prayer. No injustice had been done…”
“There is nothing to fear.” (W-48) When fear is gone only love is present and love protects because there is no greater force. Not everyone will have an experience like Ken’s, and there will be times when love says “no,” but the point is to develop your internal center in love so that it becomes natural for you to depend on its mighty protection in the face of the world. The form of Ken’s guidance clearly had a powerful impact on his life. Your form may be different, but it will nevertheless be just as powerful. Love protects.
In the book, The Hiding Place by Corrie TenBoom, Corrie relates a story of her sister Betsie and herself when they were imprisoned in a German concentration camp during World War II. Corrie and Betsie witnessed and experienced the brutality and suffering in the camps. In one particular instance, Corrie tells of what she and her sister spoke of after they watched a guard whipping a “feeble-minded girl who was soiling herself.” Corrie said, “What can we do for these people? Afterward I mean. Can’t we make a home for them, and care for them, and love them?”
Betsie replied, “Corrie, I pray every day that we will be allowed to do this! To show them that love is greater!”
Corrie goes on to say in her book, “It wasn’t until I was gathering twigs later that I realized that I had been thinking of the feeble-minded girl and Betsie of their persecutors.”
After the war, Corrie, who was the only sister to survive, returned to her home in Holland and established recovery homes for the displaced refugees and for the psychologically displaced Germans.
Charles Fillmore writes in Dynamics for Living, “Love sometimes casts pearls before swine, but its power is so great that it transforms all that it touches.” In A Course in Miracles we read, “Only appreciation is an appropriate response to your brother. Gratitude is due him for both his loving thoughts and his appeals for help, for both are capable of bringing love into your awareness if you perceive them truly.” (T-12.I.6)
No matter the hurt, there is no greater healer than love, for it transforms the mind and heart so we see only the loving acts and the appeals for love. Love heals.
Quite a few years back, a woman walked into the Center and requested 200 copies of Dr. Gerald Jampolsky’s book Teach Only Love, and she needed them within a couple of days. A request for the book was not unusual, but the quantity was. We were able to obtain the books for her in the needed time frame, but we were interested in why she needed so many, so soon. Genelle, the woman, told us that earlier that week her daughter Robbin had been found stabbed to death on the campus of Saddleback Community College, where she was a popular, talented and loved student. No one knew why it had happened. All Genelle knew was, “The person who did this was not loved or this could never have happened. Please send love to the person who did this to Robbin so this may not happen again.”
She gave a copy of Teach Only Love to the hundreds of friends and family who attended the memorial service and said, “The greatest teaching in the world is missing from our schools and that is the teaching of love.”
What’s love got to do with it? The answer is: Everything! There is no greater gift in our lives than the gift of love, but it is our choice to accept the gift and use it or not. In A Course in Miracles we read,
“You will identify with what you think will make you safe. Whatever it may be, you will believe that it is one with you. Your safety lies in truth, and not in lies. Love is your safety. Fear does not exist. Identify with love, and you are safe. Identify with love, and you are home. Identify with love, and find your Self.” (W-pII.5.5)