Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Slow Learner

When I started working in the human services field, I remember making a determination: the day I watch a kid cry and don't cry with them, that's the day I quit.

If I am numb and cynical, I am incapable of love. And love heals. Cynical distance can further wound. In all my feeble efforts, I want to love. More than anything.

But what I want and what I do aren't always identical twins. Sometimes they don't even look like siblings.

Rob Bell says that Jesus calls us to relinquish the things that keep us from his Kingdom, that He tirelessly works to prepare us to handle the perfection of a world that turns the right way.

Jesus called the rich man to generosity and sacrifice.
The stone-throwing Pharisees to empty hands and humbled hearts.
The soldiers from violence.
The woman at the well from serial relationships to a satisfying Love.

If I've been listening at all over the past year or two, Jesus insists that I give up my awesome, black-belt-level self-protection skills. Unlike karate black-belt, my relationship black-belt skill is disengagement. If hurt or misunderstood, I move to a safe distance faster than a speeding bullet. And initially, I give enough of myself to think I'm making a difference... loving... until my wariness is eased. All these self-defense maneuvers keep me checking my surroundings and watching my space and I end up thinking more about myself and whether things are going to turn out safely for me than I do about the other person. Love, by nature, requires a decreased self-consciousness... a focus on the good of the other.

All the seemingly arbitrary pieces of losses, gifts, fears, and hopes of late interlocked recently... and I realize...

It's for my own redemption as well as for others' that God blesses me with tears.


"May God bless us with discomfort at easy answers, half truths and superficial relationships, so that we may live deep within our hearts.
May God bless us with anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that we may work for justice and peace.
May God bless us with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, and war, so that we may reach out our hands to comfort them and to turn their pain into joy.
May God bless us with enough foolishness to believe we can make a difference in this world, so that we can do what others claim cannot be done.
And may the blessing of God, Who creates, redeems, and sanctifies, be upon you and all you love and pray for this day and forevermore." 
-Franciscan blessing

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You don't know me; I followed a link from Anita Yoder's blog several months ago. I've bookmarked you on my phone so I can check for new posts now and then. I like what you write. I like that you struggle through life and use words to process and share that. I like that you live with hope and long to love Jesus and his world well. I love the Fransiscan prayer that you shared. I think that will find it's way into my journal so I can keep it and reread it. - Bethany Flokstra