Sunday, October 28, 2012

schola caritatis

Jesus said, “The first in importance is, ‘Listen, Israel: The Lord your God is one; so love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.’ And here is the second: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ There is no other commandment that ranks with these.” Mark 12:28-30 (The Message)

Before anything, love Me.  Just love Me, it's as simple as that.  In fact, that is the one thing I really want from you, your love.  And I want all of it.  I want you to love me with everything you've got; all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength.  Every bit of you.  And I want you to love me for Me, not for the sake of anyone, or anything else.  I must be the end, and not just a means to some other end.  So love me because that's what I made you to do.  And when you do what I have made you to do, you will know joy and fullness like you have never known it before.  Then, and only then, will you be able to truly love others; for then you will be free from needing them to come through for you in some strangely dependent way.  This freedom from needing them will allow you to truly love them, rather than to try and manipulate love out of them.  For this second love can only be a reflection of the first.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

tenderness

This past summer I was at home one night watching the ESPYs with my daughter.  Anyone that knows my daughter very well at all knows that she is a huge Peyton Manning fan; I think it had something to do with the fact that she got his autograph and a picture made with him when she was in first grade.  Well anyway, Peyton was scheduled to make an appearance on the ESPYs, so we sat down to watch.  For those of you that saw it, I'm sure you'll remember that Peyton was there to present Pat Summitt with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award; his words to her filled to overflowing with kindness and respect and the utmost admiration...classic Peyton Manning.  After his introduction there was about a ten minute video on Coach Summitt's life and achievements that was narrated by Reese Witherspoon.  Now I'll have to admit, I was not much of a Reese Witherspoon fan at that point...but I am now.  It was absolutely beautiful!  It was filled with person after person telling their story of how Pat Summitt had impacted them, and how much she means to them, and what kind of amazing person she is.  And after the video she came forward with her son and humbly and gracefully accepted this prestigious award; it was just incredibly powerful.

I sat there in awe of the whole thing, not really knowing what to say, not really able to move, and deeply, deeply affected by it all.  In fact, after everyone had gone to bed that night, I went back and watched the whole thing again, wondering why it had impacted (and was continuing to impact) me so profoundly.  Whatever it was doing in me would just not go away, so I continued to reflect on it.  Sitting in the dark, unable to sleep, I began to pray: "Lord, what is going on in me?  What is it about this video that affected me so deeply?  What is this all about?  What are you trying to say to me?"  Not really sensing any answer, and content with just wondering, I decided to go to bed.  I got changed and laid down in the bed, still miles and miles from sleep.  And as my spirit calmed and my mind cleared, I heard that oh so familiar Voice whisper in the ear of my Spirit, "You desperately want people to feel that way about you."  And the tears began to roll down my cheeks because I knew it was the truth.  It was not a voice of accusation, you know, the one you and I hear so often, the one that immediately turns us toward guilt and shame.  But instead it was the Voice of One who loves me deeply and wants me to know the truth of my own heart.  And so I sat with (I guess technically I was lying with) this recognition, or revelation, or whatever you might want to call it; grateful for the space and the silence to take in this truth and allow it to speak.  But then, a few moments later, the Voice again whispered deeply into my heart and soul: "I feel that way about you."  And then the tears came full-force as I was held in the intimately loving embrace of the One who knows me like no other and loves me more than I could ever ask or image.  That night, that Voice, and those sweet words will mark me for a long, long time.  It was the night when my Father, in His infinite tenderness, drew His mouth close to my ear and whispered His great affection to me.  Thanks be to God!!!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

names

names
 
not enough
is the name
i hear
echoing off the walls
of my heart
i wear it like a name tag
i allow it to determine
my identity
it sends me
into a spin
running after
affirmation
achievement
value
why does this liar
have such power over me
to determine
who i am
what i do
somehow he
has made me believe
that his words
are true

 
beloved
is the name
i am known by
by the one
who made me
and knows me
the word of truth
that can set me free
if i dare to believe
the beauty that is bestowed
from his lips
if i dare to see
myself through his eyes
for if i dare
then i can live
true and free
with nothing more
to run after
i am at rest
in the arms of the one
who loves me
more than i dare
ask or imagine

awakening

But make sure that you don’t get so absorbed and exhausted in taking care of all your day-by-day obligations that you lose track of the time and doze off, oblivious to God. The night is about over, dawn is about to break. Be up and awake to what God is doing! Romans 13:11-12 (The Message)

Day-to-day life can be so consuming.  It can definitely absorb and/or exhaust us.  In the midst of daily demands and obligations it is so easy to lose sight of what is truly important (or needed--see Luke 10:42), in contrast with what is merely urgent (or seems to be at least) .  And sadly enough I am still so easily swayed, so easy distracted from the One Thing by the many things.  It's almost like I need a daily awakening, if not a minute-by-minute one, to remind me of what is really important; to shift my vision from all of the things around me, to the One who lives within me.  A daily call to stop living out of the false names, and selves, and stories I tend to live out of, that lead me to live in fear and insecurity and anxiety; and to live in the true name that God knows me and calls me by--Beloved.  A name, and a life, that allows me to be up and awake to what God is doing rather than being overcome, and overwhelmed, and overly-affected by all that is going on in the world around me.   

O Lord, my God, help me to live my life in you.  Wake me up minute-by-minute, day-by-day, to your presence within me and around me.  Wake me up to your love, and to your care, to your voice, and to your Spirit.  Help me to come all awake within, and when I finally do, help me to find myself in your loving arms.

Those who have shaken off sleep eventually become all awake within.  ~Clement of Alexandria