Time, or our concept of it, is useful. It helps when we want to make appointments or be somewhere at a specific juncture. But there’s a problem with using it to describe subtle, yet powerful qualities like love. We link how long we spend with people, and how often we see them, with the depth of our affection, and the two don’t always relate.
We measure how much we think someone loves us by how long they spend with us, even when the notion is inaccurate. Challenges like the current COVID-19 virus can keep us away from those we love.
Sometimes, no matter how different we wish events to pan out, we can’t change the time we have available to be with loved ones. Not being with those you love as much as you would like doesn’t mean you love them less, however. Nor does it diminish the experience of love itself.
Love isn’t about time. If we relate it to time at all, perhaps it should be to describe it as timeless. We know love goes on, even when someone we cherish dies. It continues because it doesn’t exist as a separate entity. It lives inside of us, deep in our hearts.
Likewise, love exists even when we are apart from those we love for other reasons. Of course, there’s more to spending time with people you care about, like camaraderie, humor, and shared experiences. We will miss these events if we aren’t without families and friends at Christmas. Yet, love is still in our hearts, and we can express it with our ‘virtual presence,’ by keeping in touch.
We can also expand the experience of love and compassion by sending good cheer and love. You need not be religious to do so, as you can carry out the process in various ways.
You might engage in a loving kindness meditation, imagining love spreading out into the world, beginning with those in your household, your neighbors and in the town where you live, and expanding into the universe.
Then again, you might pray, or light a candle, place your hand on your heart, and think of people you love. When you catch hold of the experience of love as you visualize them, let it expand. Focus on it until it grows.
Or you might just enjoy Christmas rather than mulling over how terrible it is not to see people and make your joy be a testament to your love of life.
It’s worth noting, too, that sometimes the kindest thing you can do is stay away from people. It’s not loving to put yourself in a situation where you might spread a serious disease. If you’re in a place where the virus is rife, the best way to show your love could be to exercise responsibility and, if you do, take heart that your actions are another way to express how much you care.