Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Think before you speak...and then maybe say it anyway. (Oh Lord, I am a silly girl.)

So yesterday morning as I was getting dressed, I had an epiphany that I shared with my roommate:

"I really hope that I don't get in an accident today because I'm wearing a pair of really ratty underwear."


"Well, you know...sometimes when you get into accidents the EMTs cut open you pants, and that would just be really embarrassing because I'm wearing really ratty underwear today."

After listening to her laugh at me for about 5 minutes, I mulled over my statement and realized that if I got into an accident where the EMTs had to cut open my jeans, I would probably have bigger problems than the state of my under garments...

Thankfully (for many reasons - big and small), under God's protection yesterday, I remained accident-free.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Blind Truth

I've been pondering relationship lately. There's this popular idea floating about that "love is blind."

Wow, what a lie. I don't think that the idea could be any further from the truth. Love is not failing or refusing to see the faults of the other. Such a blindness could at best describe infatuation - or maybe a desire of being in love with love. It doesn't equate a love of the person. The person is loved as an ideal, seen through the eyes of the beholder. Wow, how selfish. "I love you because you are who I want you to be." Such an idea forces the "beloved" to conform to a mold. The "beloved" has their humanity stripped from them and is the object of affection so long as the beloved-robot performs according to our specified instructions. What happens when he or she ceases to meet the expectations of the ideal, when he or she steps out and proves their humanity through surprise or disappointment?

Love is seeing a person for all of their faults - in all of their naked ugliness - and still making the decision that he or she is still worth your time and your sacrifice. Love is a mutual willingly laying down your rights for the benefit of another person.

But such a relationship with another carries significant risk. We like wearing clothes, because being naked carries with it exposure and vulnerability. I can't think of anything more horrible than being completely vulnerable and exposed down to the soul and then being rejected.

So, what do we do? We dumb love down and try to make it tame, make it safe. We make sappy cards, make up phrases like "love is blind", and reduce love to kissing and fuzzy feelings. Wow. It may be safe, but it's so far from the passionate life that real, honest-to-God love is filled with.

"Love is blind." How about some truth:

1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful (and does not count up wrongdoing); it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.

Patience implies that it takes a long time. Kindness is required in the face of irritation, in the face of need. Humility is required to confront the temptation to put the self first. Love gives up the demand of putting the self first. It is forgiving and seeks justice and truth. Love is the kind of thing that "takes a licking and keeps on ticking." It's optimistic, it's patient. It doesn't end.

Love is work. It's not floating up among the clouds. It's where the rubber meets the road.

Here's another thing: people can't live up to this model. We are called to it, yes. But let's be honest. We are flawed. We are human. But we can try, and we should try - picking ourselves up and starting over when we fall down and fail.

Christ set the example. He lives the example. The source of this kind of love is God Himself. Of course, such a love is horribly wonderful (or perhaps wonderfully horrible) to accept. It requires an acknowledgment that at any level, it is not deserved. Our inability to give this love deems us unworthy of being recipients to it. But through God's grace, mercy, and through Christ's life, death on the cross, and resurrection we are invited to share in it.

We fall flat on our faces, abjectly aware of our flaws, and then are told that we are loved - that we are precious in the eye of the beholder who just so happens to see everything that makes up who we are. It's horrible - seeing our flaws for what they are when we want so desperately to pretend that we are perfect. It's wonderful - God seeing our flaws for what they are and loving us so desperately that He would die for us rather than lose us.

This love is not safe. It's absolutely dangerous. Blind love is safe, but it also isn't real. I choose the real love. The love that sees the ugly. Because there really is no other option. Plastic Cupids compared to a beating, bleeding heart. I choose the love that is alive.

Monday, March 9, 2009

An Unfinished Prayer

Oh Lord,
my body is tired and
my heart is weak,
but if you'll have
me, I'll give you what
you'll take. Be gentle, be
patient with me. I'm slow
to understand. But you are
so worthy of me singing
an anthem of the highest
praise. Take my heart and
break it. Mold it to fit
your design. If you will
have me, I'll do my
best to give you all that
I have to offer.