Make love your aim…
1 Corinthians 14:1 (RSV)
‘Things won’t be the same.’ This has been a shared sentiment and lament as we have endured during this time and even as we look ahead. Yes, things certainly won’t be the same. And yet, when we look back over the course of history, or even our own lives, when have things remained the same? And even when they did, what benefits did it actually bring besides comfort in the moment?
As I have grappled with the myriad of emotions that come when I ponder the ‘sameness’ I have grown accustomed to in my life, I have had to confront a number of unpleasant and ugly things within myself. March 12th was a dark day for me. Beginning early in the day, I experienced a chain of events and communication that caused me to angrily alter my plans, only to find out later that day the effort and changes I had sacrificed my plans for were not even appreciated! In fact, there was the potential that the time, thought, and effort I had put in on their behalf could be used against me! I was livid. Even worse, I knew this was only the beginning of similar days and conversations as the announcement to ban large gatherings in NYC was made that afternoon.
I had a decision to make in those next 24 hours, would I continue to let my anger consume me or was there another way? As I sat with God the next morning, I reflected on Jesus’ love for me: the great cost of becoming fully human leading to the cross, and I was broken. I was broken as I saw the overwhelming difference in the size of love Jesus has for others versus my own. The lack of love I recognized in myself that morning led me to a deeper heart of gratitude of his love for me. Despite my shortcomings, his love receives me. It compels me that I cannot remain the same. In this posture, I was able to examine what lay beneath my anger and realized I was actually sad and hurt, because I did not feel valued by the actions and words of others .
Outside my bedroom window is a sculpture I had never even realized was there for the better part of a year. Although the rooms are only a few feet apart, the sculpture is not visible from our living room window, our normal view of the outside world. Only after raising the blinds of our bedroom window/(now second workspace), did I become aware of what’s been there all along. God’s love is present all the time; it’s me who hasn’t taken the time to see and love through his eyes. It’s an invitation to love differently- to open myself to the loss of value others may be experiencing that is causing their pain and anxiety. I thank God that even within the ‘limitations’ we find ourselves in, he offers a different perspective.
I still have a long way to grow in love, but as much as I know we are not meant to live apart from others, we cannot do it apart from the loving, freeing arms of God. My aim each day must first be to know myself in the love and light of God to continue forward in faith, hope and love. Things won’t be the same, but there’s an opportunity for things to be better, starting from within.
Executive Director, Spiritual Director (in training)