Disney Sunset

Disney Sunset
Disney Sunset


Love Note No. 4

"Do You Really Love Me?"

I will always remember what an old man told me. He said, before you close your eyes to meet the maker, significant moments of your life resurface in your mind. I am now moments away from my own execution, and I cannot help but remember the eventful day when I walked on the beach for the last time with my friends and my mentor.

We talked about "Love".

Love. I thought I knew what that meant. I believed I had it all sorted out - attraction to another woman, attention to children, even allegiance to my nation, my people, my religion. It was energizing, it captured my imagination, I was on fire...I was on the right side.

When we first met on the beach, he said to me, "Come and follow me." My life was never the same again. We walked the dusty roads of Palestine together. I began to see the terror of love more than the terror of hate.

He opened blind eyes.
He touched the untouchable.
He threw parties for prostitutes.
He played with children on the streets.
He was different, he spoke of a different way of loving.
He was love in action.
He was my friend.
I loved him.

But then one say everything went down the drain. He was arrested; my mentor. He became a threat to the powers. When he needed me most, when I could have stood up to be counted, when it mattered most - I failed. I screwed up. I denied him. Not once, not twice - three times!

I denied him three times.

But he saw it coming. I thought I would die for him - I told him I'd die for him.

But at the end, he died for me.

So when he came back, (yes, he came back from the dead), I couldn't ask for a second chance. No, surely that was too much to ask! I had already stepped onto the 'wrong' side. I betrayed my friend. I shattered the love between us.

We were walking on the beach when he asked,

"Do you love me?"

Do I love him?
What am I supposed to say?
Did I love him as a friend?
...but I had betrayed him.
Did I love him as a mentor?
...but I had denied him.
But did I love him?

I answered, "Yes". Perhaps, I could still love him with conditions and more realistic limits.

He answered,
"Go feed the hungry, and love people..."

He didn't stop. He asked again,
"Do you love me?"

I thought I could get away with the first answer. But there was no escape to his gentle piercing voice. It cut through my heart. I dug deep. Even though I had messed up, I still loved him and with whatever little I had left within me - maybe, I could still squeeze something out.

"Yes" I replied.

"Go and feed the hungry, and love people along the way..."

"Do you love me?"

He asked once more.

My mind crashed. My heart crumbled. I had nothing left to say...Did I love him unconditionally? Did I at least want to love him unconditionally? Could I still love him after failing more than once? Should I even dare to love him and do what he asked me to do, even after messing-up the way I did? Why isn't his love conditional? Why doesn't he lay out a new set of requirements for someone like me?

I knew I had nothing to hide from him - I was a wreck.
I was in pieces. I was a coward.
I was nobody. I had nothing.
I was nothing.
I thought I knew what love was.
The truth is - I didn't.
The truth is, I still don't.
At least not in the way he did.

He loved me unconditionally. His tears washed away my shame. His voice healed my soul. He cleared my guilt with just one look. His words picked me up. His questions didn't condemn me, instead, they put me back together again.

So I could still follow him a second time. So I could have a second chance. Was I to take it?

"Go and feed the hungry, and love people along the way...and you will be taken to places you don't want to go."

My life was no longer my own. Unconditional love changes you that way. It changes what you are attracted to. It directs what you pay attention to. It realigns who and what you give your allegiance to. Unconditional love breaks into pieces all the false securities I once held on to, put me together again, and showed me the road to true freedom, hope and courage.

I will breathe my last breath soon. Yet, I feel peace. I will meet him in a while. I walked away from our last stroll on the beach a new man. The years after that turned out to be the best years of my life. I can truly say now, I know to some measure what he meant by 'love' - unconditional love. Like him this new man was arrested to be crucified, and yet, I am still unworthy to die in the same way as my friend and master. This old man in me will die with no regret for saying "Yes" to his unconditional love and "Yes" to his call to "Go and feed the hungry, love people along the way."

I can truly say now - "Yes, I do love him". Because, once upon a time, when he asked,

"Do you love me?"
it was just his way of saying,
"I love you unconditionally, Peter".

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