Kara offers emotional support and information to adults, teenagers and children who are grieving a death or coping with a life-threatening illness.
On December 10, 2010, All Saints' Interim Rector The Rev. Sherridan Harrison delivered a reflection on love at Kara's Candlelight Service: Annual Interfaith Gathering of Remembrance. Here is the text of that reflection:
Opening Reflection, on Love
Sometime ago, I jotted down the words to a song—I know neither the origin of this song nor its tune***—and it isn’t great poetry. But tonight it speaks truth:
“You must give yourself to love, if love is what you're after.
Open up your hearts to the tears and laughter, and give yourself to love, give yourself to love."
"Love is born in fire; it's planted like a seed.
Love can't give you everything, but it will give you what you need.
Love comes when you are ready; it comes when you're afraid;
You must give yourself to love, if love is what you're after. . . .
give yourself to love, give yourself to love."
In the musical My Fair Lady there’s another song—in this one, Eliza Doolittle cries out in a frustrated voice: ‘Words, words, words! I’m so tired of words! Don’t talk to me of love, don’t talk to me of June, don’t talk to me of anything at all, just show me.” (Julie Pennington-Russell, quoted in Synthesis.)
Of course, that is the trouble with a ditty like “Give yourself to love. That’s the trouble with all words: : As long as we only sing, write, or say them, nothing changes.
The same could be true here tonight, beginning with the words I say, so while we need to speak—and listen—well, profoundly, honestly, as truly as we can-- ultimately it isn’t words that are of final important or meaning—Ultimate value and meaning is and will be—as it has been—lives. Lives marked by love.
A few minutes ago Stephanie described [or Stephanie has described] the lives we honor tonight as “the loves that have taught us to love” . In the faith tradition I share, the “indispensable” thing about love that we see in Jesus is that “in the end, love is always something we do. “
In other words, Love is not a concept, or a feeling—love is lived lives. Love finds its real, effective and enduring meaning when it names particular experiences or makes a future difference in friendship, family life, communities of support, sharing joy and tears, forgiveness, sacrifice, acts of kindness and mercy, growth and even happiness.
Most everyone here tonight has known love in the flesh in one or more of those personal, active ways.;
most everyone here has also experienced the tearing of life—of heart, mind, soul, and daily routine--that comes when someone who loves us, someone we love, dies—
We are here tonight because we share those dimensions of love.
But Even more essentially, we are here because we either know, or we live in the hope of knowing, that mysteriously and in time, even grief cannot eradicate the seeds their love has planted in us:
The seed of a deep sense that we are inherently loveable, and
The seed of a sacred capacity to love and love and love some more.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be known by the kind of love you have known? in the kind of love known in the lives of the people you will light a candle for tonight? In the kind of love you have received and given, have shared, in the KARA community?
Those we honor tonight could not, and cannot give us everything—but they have given us just what we need –people who will know how, in our turn, to be “the love that will teach someone else how to love.”
The Rev. Sherridan Harrison
December 2, 2010
KARA Candlelight Service: Annual Interfaith Gathering of Remembrance
Unity Palo Alto Community Church
***Thank you to those who identified this song as Kate Wolf’s “Give Yourself to Love”, 1982.