December 23 – A Surety of Roots – Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening

“You didn’t come into this house so I might tear off a piece of your life. Perhaps when you leave, you’ll take something of mine: chestnuts, roses, or a surety of roots.” Pablo Neruda

Perhaps the most stubborn thing that keeps us from knowing love is distrust. Certainly, we have more than enough reason in our world to be cautious, alert, and guarded against being hurt or taken advantage of.

But the fact remains that in spite of all the news and terrible stories that we pass on at parties, there is no other doorway into kindness and all its gifts but through the gentle risk to open ourselves, however slightly, and try. The question we must ask, that I ask myself every day, is which is more debilitating: to be cut off from love or to be scarred by the pain of being hurt?

What makes Neruda such a great poet is the largeness of his heart, and through his large kindness, he suggests that giving heals and that until we step into that space between each other and try, nothing can happen. But once we do, giving and receiving become the same, and we all grow stronger for going there together.

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