When we finally left the little playground area I noticed a bench nearby with an old man, clearly of grandfatherly age. He gently cradled a sleeping weeks-old baby against his chest. The man didn't notice us watching him; he just gazed off into the distance at nothing in particular, not moving except for the rise and fall of his chest. He held the infant motionless in his arms, as if the nearness of each of their hearts might have been the only experience the man was having.
Becky and I stood watching him for perhaps 30 seconds, our eyes fixed upon him and the child as he continued gazing into space. Breathing and being. Later I said to Becky, "I wish I had taken a picture of him. The image would have shown for all to see what Love looks like as the very young and the very old join together." But that would have been too intrusive, probably unwelcome.
This picture doesn't really do justice to the beauty of what we saw, but it's the best I can find.
This morning I read Lesson 184, "The Name of God Is My Inheritance." It begins with these words:
1 You live by symbols. You have made up names for everything you see. Each one becomes a separate entity, identified by its own name. By this you carve it out of unity. By this you designate its special attributes, and set it off from other things by emphasizing space surrounding it. This space you lay between all things to which you give a different name; all happenings in terms of place and time; all bodies which are greeted by a name.
2 This space you see as setting off all things from one another is the means by which the world's perception is achieved. You see something where nothing is, and see as well nothing where there is unity; a space between all things, between all things and you. Thus do you think that you have given life in separation. By this split you think you are established as a unity which functions with an independent will.
And then it continues with these words:
8 Think not you made the world. Illusions, yes! But what is true in earth and Heaven is beyond your naming. When you call upon a brother, it is to his body that you make appeal. His true Identity is hidden from you by what you believe he really is. His body makes response to what you call him, for his mind consents to take the name you give him as his own. And thus his unity is twice denied, for you perceive him separate from you, and he accepts this separate name as his.
9 It would indeed be strange if you were asked to go beyond all symbols of the world, forgetting them forever; yet were asked to take a teaching function. You have need to use the symbols of the world a while. But be you not deceived by them as well. They do not stand for anything at all, and in your practicing it is this thought that will release you from them. They become but means by which you can communicate in ways the world can understand, but which you recognize is not the unity where true communication can be found.
Lately Becky and I have been blessed with a constant discovery of Love in this world where people and things each have names we give them. Yet day by day we're learning to see the Oneness in everything. I am so grateful to have been given the opportunity of seeing the old man and infant because they showed us, so clearly, another example of how Love encompasses everything. It was a lesson, a blessing and a reminder that we are all truly One.
Lesson 184 ends with these words. I find them beautiful. A touching reminder that we truly are One. A reminder that what we merely make here in this life by naming each thing and believing we are separate is not what God created when He extended what He Is to give birth to His Sonship.
12 God has no name. And yet His Name becomes the final lesson that all things are one, and at this lesson does all learning end. All names are unified; all space is filled with truth's reflection. Every gap is closed, and separation healed. The Name of God is the inheritance He gave to those who chose the teaching of the world to take the place of Heaven. In our practicing, our purpose is to let our minds accept what God has given as the answer to the pitiful inheritance you made as fitting tribute to the Son He loves.
13 No one can fail who seeks the meaning of the Name of God. Experience must come to supplement the Word. But first you must accept the Name for all reality, and realize the many names you gave its aspects have distorted what you see, but have not interfered with truth at all. One Name we bring into our practicing. One Name we use to unify our sight.
14 And though we use a different name for each awareness of an aspect of God's Son, we understand that they have but one Name, which He has given them. It is this Name we use in practicing. And through Its use, all foolish separations disappear which kept us blind. And we are given strength to see beyond them. Now our sight is blessed with blessings we can give as we receive.
15 Father, our Name is Yours. In It we are united with all living things, and You Who are their one Creator. What we made and call by many different names is but a shadow we have tried to cast across Your Own reality. And we are glad and thankful we were wrong. All our mistakes we give to You, that we may be absolved from all effects our errors seemed to have. And we accept the truth You give, in place of every one of them. Your Name is our salvation and escape from what we made. Your Name unites us in the oneness which is our inheritance and peace. Amen.
I am grateful to the old man for giving us such a divine view and such a clear understanding that Love is what powers our lives while we're here for a while, learning what is real and what is not.