“We cannot do great things, we can only do small things with great love.” Mother Teresa
Martin: “I spent over four decades searching for something that would fulfill my longing to contribute to humanity, allow me to share my gifts with others, and satisfy my quest for spiritual fulfillment. I’ve always been a diligent student; I easily got accepted into medical school and have been a practicing pediatrician for over thirty years. As a devout Catholic, I became increasingly immersed in the church and was ordained a priest in 1986. Yet my pursuit of fulfillment failed to be fully achieved in either the world of medicine or religion. Although I continue to be a respected medical caregiver, I no longer see my role as a doctor or a priest as a means of personal or spiritual salvation.”
Marriage can meet out deepest need for meaning.
“It is my marriage that has met my deepest needs to experience purpose, meaning, and contribution in my life. My relationship is my spiritual sanctuary. When I fell in love with Tobias, my world changed. We are like two rivers flowing from different origins to a common destination, the place where these two domains, spirit and body, intersect and blend together for me, is the world of relationship.”
“Spirituality, which I now define as ‘living life fully,’ helps me adapt in a difficult world. I have always been a very idealistic person, and I was strongly influenced by the priests in the church, who were my father figures. Being a doctor just wasn't enough for me. The very same commitment to service that motivated me to become a doctor, also motivated me to become a priest. I didn't want my healing efforts to be limited to the physical body. During my time in the priesthood, my mind was always full of philosophy and theories. There was way too much information and mind chatter. But in the priesthood I saw how religion makes artificial divides between the sacred and the profane. I came to see at first hand the effects of my church's behavior on abused children and “deviant” sexual minorities. It was my realization of these things that contributed to my decision to leave the religious order.”
Relationship as Spiritual Practice
“The church I now attend is a liberal and progressive, but my relationship has become an essential aspect of my spiritual practice. Having someone to share a life with is a holy thing. The most mundane things that I do with Tobias, like working in the garden pulling weeds, planting bulbs, and watering is all part of the practice. Even cleaning up the kitchen together feels like sacred work. Every aspect of our shared lives brings me enormous fulfillment, like going on vacation and discovering new places. Kissing good night before we go to sleep and before going to work in the morning, taking long walks on the weekends, everything feels like an expression of spiritual practice. For both of us, these are holy rituals.”
“Through our connection and the practices that we share, I’ve come to experience being present in my life and to all of creation in ways that I had never known before I met Tobias. He’s helped me to see the sacred everywhere, particularly in his smile.”
"When I finally stop ruminating over the contents of my mind and rest in my heart, I experience a felt awareness that I am in the right groove. When I experience that connection, I feel like I’m home. Our home isn’t this house we live in, but it’s the love we share. It’s a place where I’m whole safe, and loved, and I know that everything is all right. Everything!"
Love spilling over.
Martin and Tobias have managed to find a common ground on which they both stand, as equal partners in a co-creative life that serves not only their individual needs, but spills over to the lives of countless friends, colleagues, family members and patients.
Their relationship is an embodiment of the notion that there is no difficulty in the world that love cannot overcome. After the years of striving in medical school, decades of practice as a doctor and years in the priesthood, they have found that it’s the simplest of pleasures, taking a walk, their nightly foot massages, planting bulbs in the garden and heart felt conversations are where they feel the presence of spirit. They have discovered the simple pleasures of life that can transform the ordinary into the extraordinary.
Linda Bloom L.C.S.W. has served as psychotherapist and seminar leader practicing relationship counseling almost forty years. Check out her OMTimes Bio.
If you like what you read, click here to sign up Bloomwork’s monthly inspirational newsletter and receive our free e-book: Going For the Gold: Tools, practice, and wisdom for creating exemplary relationships.
Follow Bloomwork on Facebook!