Immortal Love, forever full,
Forever flowing free,
Forever shared, forever whole,
A never-ebbing sea!
(John Greenleaf Whittier)

IT IS A WELL-KNOWN FACT THAT LOVE AND SHARING ARE INSEPARABLE. Love always wants to share, and sharing, in its highest form, is always an act of love. We see this clearly in the love that God has for us, His creatures, and since we are made in His image, we naturally desire something like this kind of love between ourselves.

There are many angles from which we can look at the idea of “sharing.” At its most basic level, we probably think of the importance (and value) of sharing our possessions with those less fortunate. But, of course, there are many other things to share. Our time may be one of the hardest, since it is a scarcer commodity. By far the most important thing we can share, however, is our heart. We never do a finer thing than when we open up and share our innermost self with another person. “All who joy would win must share it. Happiness was born a twin” (Lord George Noel Gordon Byron).

This kind of deep communion reaches its highest form when it is mutual, and so it is important for us to recognize the give-and-take aspect of sharing. We must have not only the courage to share ourselves but also the humility to receive that which others share with us.

And I would suggest there is a kind of sharing that is even more profound than any of the above. We hear about this in the “Servant Songs” in the Book of Isaiah. There, it is said about the Servant, “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.” When we voluntarily, and at great personal cost, share in the sufferings of others, we discover what true love is all about, especially when we agree to be the one who suffers so that the one who is loved might not have to.

Stephen S. Wise said, “An unshared life is not living.” There may be nothing nearer to the heartbeat of our existence than the need to share ourselves with others and to enter their experience. When we do this, we show others their own virtues in ways that empower them.

“The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches but to reveal to him his own” (Benjamin Disraeli).

Gary Henry — +

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