Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I Choose To Love

Yesterday we gave thought to the “road not chosen”, the one many of us are on. Life may be difficult, but we noted that we are not alone, and that gives us some comfort and peace. I fear that the statement I made, “we are not alone”, was an assumption on my part, and perhaps some of you read yesterday’s meditation and said to yourself: “well, you are not living my life. I AM alone (or it seems I am); there is no one to help me; it is a burden you can’t lift with your simple words.”

I assumed those who would read the words I wrote would take pause, and meditate on their meaning, as said, and unsaid. But I DO know what people say the word “assume” means: it makes an ASS of U and ME. So I can understand your quick rejection of what I wrote. By themselves, my words are meaningless and make no sense. It takes a context in your heart to give them meaning, at least the meaning I intended. Fortunately, today I read some more words, much better than mine, which helped frame my thoughts and perhaps will give my prior words more meaning to you. The words I read today are the words of my mentor, St. Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians (1Cor 12:31-13:13).

Let me try to make clear, both Paul’s words and mine. Let me give you the context of both, as I feel it in my heart, then perhaps you might feel it also.

First, my words: The path we are on is one made by God; surely you can accept that as a given context, can you not? I mean, he created all things, even you, so certainly all the things you see and feel and live through were created by him also – so we are on the path he made for us.

And if we are on a path he created, isn’t it reasonable to assume that he maintains the path and the creatures he put on it? In part, he would do this because of the destination of the path: heaven. The path is destined to end with him. He has a personal interest in our travels because we are going to his house. And we know this because he said so; go find it written in so many places in Scripture. Then go read the ancient philosophers and even some modern scientists. They know he is there as creator, and accept a life eternal. The knowledge of who we are and where we’re going isn’t “rocket science”.

But maybe my words thus far still haven’t gotten to your heart. Perhaps you can accept what I’ve written and can agree that our life is laid out by him, and perhaps even that he DOES travel the road with us – the passenger in our vehicle of life as we go down the road, together. Even with acceptance of this you might say: Yeh, but so what if he IS with me? If he is silent and does not give me directions, I might as well be alone. Why does it make a difference to me if he is just “there”?

That is the crucial question, one which I assumed in my earlier words because I can feel the answer in my own heart -- but perhaps you don’t in yours. This is one place where the English language again fails me; I can’t say the right words to convey my meaning here; the words that “I FEEL something in my heart” do not state the truth fully. It is something beyond a “feeling” generated by the senses, it is also a truth generated in my soul, in my very being. When I describe Jesus as being a passenger along with me in my life, I KNOW he is there, whether he says a word or not. And I KNOW what he feels for me, whether he ever expresses it or not. I KNOW!

And this brings us to the words of Paul (I know, I am long-winded, and I apologize in abstentia to those who were bored and stopped reading by now.):

I know that God loves me, and he loves you. I know his love resulted in all his creation, and me. I know, in love, he travels the road with me. I know that the commitment which we made, to our elderly parent, to our ailing spouse, to our troubled child, or to the vocation which seems so difficult, I know that we continue in that commitment out of love, the love which starts with Him and flows through us. I love because He first loved me. St. Paul reminds us of this kind of love:

Love is patient, O Lord I can’t imagine your patience with me! Unfortunately, I so often see my own impatience with those you bring into in my life. Love is kind, but how often my actions arise out of what I feel at the moment, and I am anything but kind. Love is never rude, it is not self-seeking, how often I answer not Your call, but the call of the world: I’m Number One! So many things I do, so many things I worry about, are all about me. Your example, how unselfishly you love me, is the one I need to show to those in my life. It is not prone to anger – “prone” is the right word; how easily I let things disturb my peace. Woe is me if You were so easily prone to anger at me, as I am at others. It does not brood over injuries, because love forgets wrongs. You showed me the example, Lord, in so many of your parables, real love is like a Father’s love – it loves always. Always.

I want to make this kind of commitment, this love.

There is no limit to love’s forbearance, to its trust, its hope, its power to endure. It’s the answer to the question: “Why does it make a difference if He is just there?” It makes a difference because I know that he loves me, with no limit, with trust, with hope, and despite all my wrongs, all my failures to love as he loves me – despite it all – he will endure in his love. I KNOW this. This is His love. This is what I must seek to learn in my life, to love my elderly parent, to love my ailing spouse, to love my troubled child, to love the commitments I made to God and his children: I will love. I will love as he loves me, as I KNOW he loves me.

Love never fails. Never is a long time. I’ll not complete a commitment like that in this life, but I can start. Even if I do fail, I can get up and start again. I can do these things, I can continue even this difficult journey, because He is with me. He shows me the way; he gives me the example. And I’ll learn to love better, if I WILL to go on, if I make the commitment, even if it is hard. If I can accept that I am not alone in this path of life: He designed it; he knows its pitfalls; then he will walk with me until the end.

My knowledge is imperfect now; THEN I shall know even as I am known. My commitment to love is imperfect in this life, but if I continue on, it shall be perfect, just as his is. I await eagerly: THEN.

My life is not easy, my friends. Even as I write the words in this blog to help you cope with the anxieties in your life, I have many of my own. The walk we take is difficult, and I believe the only way we can succeed in this life, to be who He made us to be, to go where He destined us to go, to find Joy, the only way to find all these things is to WILL to continue on that walk. It is our commitment which makes this life easier. And our commitment is easier if we have someone holding our hand.

I know someone is holding my hand. And I pray you reach out and grab on to that hand that awaits yours. We can bear this life, we can have Joy in this life, if we commitment to love, love with all its meanings. Real love. Real commitment. You and I, we can will it to be. We won’t be perfect, but we can commit to be. We can say:

I Choose to Love.

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