And God Said, “NO!”
I don’t discuss this very much. Many would certainly think I am nuts, and those who think they understand are likely to regard it as boasting or the telltale sign of an overactive ego. Aside from that, it is intensely personal, and I am not very comfortable discussing it. Nonetheless, I was directed to do so (by a very reliable Source), and so I shall. This all happened a long time ago, and since then my understanding of and relationship with Source is much different now than it was then, but this is what happened at the time.
Some years ago, I began my meditation in the usual fashion with a prayer. As I had for a quite some time, I prayed “Father, teach me to love as you love.”
This time God immediately said “NO!” It was a soft, but authoritative “NO!” and it really startled me.
Sometimes I think that God is a student of the Socratic method, because He often answers my questions with another question. Usually I get a quiet, simple “Yes” or “No” to my questions if I perceive any answer at all. Then I am often left to my own devices to try to understand the reason for the answer which is just about as useful as getting another question. But, this was a definite and emphatic “NO!” in response to a request that, I thought, God simply could not refuse, and it startled me.
I meditated on this answer many times over the next few weeks, searching for some insight, but to no avail. Finally, I pleaded, “Father, please teach me to love as you love.”
And again God said, “NO!”
Almost in despair, I asked, “Why?”
“Because you couldn’t take it,” came the soft and gentle reply.
I pondered this answer only a few moments before I understood. Think of all the things that man does to man, often in God’s name and invoking His blessing. How does He put up with us? The answer, of course, is that God is infinite, unconditional love. It will be a long time before I am capable of unconditional, let alone infinite, love. God was right (as usual); I cannot yet love as He loves because I couldn’t “take it”.
The next time I meditated I decided on a somewhat less ambitious and more realistic goal. Surely God would grant me this request. I prayed, “Father, teach me how to love.”
And God said, “NO!”
I was dumbfounded and immediately asked, “Why?”
God’s answer was just as immediate: “Because I can’t.”
“God can’t?” I thought to myself. My head was reeling. “How is it that Omnipotence can’t do something?” Further reflection over the next few days brought more insight to my puzzlement. God created man with free will, and true love cannot be commanded or even “taught,” even though it can (and must) be learned. True love is either present in the soul or it hasn’t yet been learned. Omnipotence is irrelevant. Then I realized that my request for instant “love lessons” is really the entire purpose of human life with its free will. God does teach us to love through our daily experiences and tests us repeatedly, life after life, until we finally learn the lesson. Even then, the soul is not capable of “infinite love” until it merges one day with the Godhead itself. How simple. How elegant. How perfect. But what else can one expect from God?
Thinking I had finally cracked the puzzle, I tried once again. If God can’t teach me how to love, perhaps I could convince him to show me. I prayed, “Father, please show me how to love.”
And in a warm and tender tone God said, “No, my child, you show me.”
I was humbled at my denseness. Of course: How simple. How elegant. How perfect. That is what we are here on the earth plane to learn after all.
I often find that seemingly unrelated events turn out to be intimately related. Two days after my “revelation” about why God said “NO!,” I was driving home from work and stopped behind another car at a red light. I glanced at the license plate in front of me. It read “HWYL” in large blue letters. The frame around it read “Seattle Welsh Choir.” I have always enjoyed trying to figure out the message behind the letters and numbers on “personalized” license plates. I stared at the cryptic letters and immediately the thought “How Will You Love?” shot through my mind. I couldn’t think of anything else that made any sense. For the rest of the drive home I couldn’t think of anything else.
I have always thought that “Wisdom is where you find it.” It doesn’t matter who said it or whether it comes from some formal philosophy or even whether it is written in some book. Perhaps there really is something to that statement as I had the feeling that there was something else in that license plate that evasively demanded further understanding.
For the next several months, I caught glimpses of that car and its haunting “HWYL” personal message for me a couple of times a month, but I could never stop the driver to ask what his license plate really meant. One day I pulled up behind him at a railroad crossing, waiting for a very long train to pass. I jumped out of the car, walked up to the driver’s window, and told him of my interest in his license plate and frame. He was genuinely pleased to have an opportunity to talk about the Seattle Welsh Choir and was a bit amused at my query regarding “HWYL”. It turns out that he was retiring and was driving home from work for the last time. I never saw him again.
He explained that “HWYL” (pronounced something like “Hoyle”) is a Welsh greeting or hail which roughly translates as “Good Luck” or “Godspeed” and (most importantly) is delivered with enthusiasm, gusto, eagerness, passion, zeal, etc.
Now the question for me each morning when I arise is “How Will You Love?” The answer is “HWYL!” – in other words, with enthusiasm and gusto! Love has to be a heart thing, not a head thing. If it lacks genuine feeling, it isn’t genuine.
“HWYL!” – of course. How simple. How elegant. How perfect. Thank you, Father.
Wisdom is, indeed, where you find it.