Yesterday, a giant in my life called up to offer his final farewell. Today, he married his true love, Aurelia, before entering palliative care. He’s only 64, he’s athletic, and he’s stronger than most 30-year-olds. But when cancer takes hold, it doesn’t care.
Jonathon James is a man of profound depth, wisdom and love. His impact on me began almost 30 years ago; teaching me by showing me what it meant to live a grateful, intentional life. In recent years, he wrote a profoundly life-changing book, and he entrusted me with some of the early manuscripts for review. I’m hopeful it will be released into the world soon.
And so it’s with great sadness and gratitude that I share one of Jon’s most important works.
It’s a message that many of us desperately need right now, so I hope you’ll take a few minutes to read it slowly, and then share it with those you care about.
Look on All Things with Love
I greet this day with love in my heart. ‘Tis the love from which I came and that to others I now impart. ‘Tis the love that sustains me, that empowers my life. ‘Tis the love that has saved me and put an end to all strife. ‘Tis the source of all peace and beauty and joy. ‘Tis a gift from God that is mine to employ.
Though muscle and might may compel their way, against the force of my love they will hold no sway. ‘Tis love alone on which I depend, the power against which none can resist or defend. No more will I boast or seek to impress, but the truth of my soul I now long to express.
And when boldly into the world I stride, ’tis love is my compass, my unerring guide. You may judge me harshly, not like what you see, but if such are your thoughts you do not behold me. My face or my body you may choose to reject, my thoughts or opinions you may not respect, and even my kindness you might question too, so harden your heart but my love will break through.
Henceforth I will look at with different eyes, those things that once I would criticize. No issue had I with pleasure and gain, ’twas sorrow and loss I would view with disdain. But such is not the pathway to peace, to bemoan the things that have brought me such grief. So now do I look for the treasures inside, the gifts that only in troubles reside. For truth has revealed my freedom from pain, look on all things with love and be born again.
And how do I speak to all whom I meet, with the essence of love shall my words be replete. To those I don’t know I shall greet as a friend, to those burdened with worry words of hope I extend. Never shall I gossip, or slander or lie, nor complain of my problems or troubles will I. To reproach or derision I will lend not my voice, but speak only of things that give cause to rejoice.
So with happiness the goal, that sublime state of mind, I will make it my purpose to love all of mankind. No added regard give I fortune or fame, for I know that in essence we are one and the same. The mask that you wear, that you believe to be you, is just an illusion that love can see through. You are not your beliefs, you are that which believes, but what you believe is all you will see. So that which I love when I look upon you, is your glorious soul, the real and the true.
But my love would mean nothing, would of no benefit be, if in the beginning I couldn’t love me. With all of my faults and all of my flaws, the mistakes I’ve made and the troubles I’ve caused. How could I love this man of the earth, what right do I have to affirm my worth? Through the veil of this world made from lies woven tight, from my prison of mind I at last saw the light. ‘Twas love in response to my desperate cries, that declared what I needed to realize, the truth of my being that my heart longed to see, I am one with the love that created me.
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The ultimate goal, of course, is happiness.
Over the last decade, Jonathon has grown to understand it better than most, and more deeply than anyone I know. What’s more, he’s lived it. Indeed, even as we said goodbye to each other, he was animated and cheerful. We even managed to laugh a few times.
Over the last few years, I’ve come to a stark realization about life, happiness, and the way we move through one seeking the other.
These days, it’s the people who know how to live that I admire the most. What they have, who they know; even what they’ve done, all pale compared to how much joy they get from living.
My mum understands it, and much of my early influence around gratitude came from her. My dad gets it, too.
But Jonathon was the Grand Master. He walked the talk and he made his mark. His work here is almost finished, but the effects will live on for decades to come. And so to you, Jon, I promise to live while I’m alive, and I hope that somehow, we can meet again for one more adventure. Farewell, old friend.
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