Saturday, December 31, 2011

In the End its All About God

As the Christmas season lingers and the year closes, it is natural to reflect -- to reflect on the good times and the bad, on what we have done and what we have failed to do. We cherish what is special to us and renew our hope and our resolve to fill what we perceive we lack.

This Christmas season had me feel my void like never before. The normal tricks -- focusing on the giving and counting my blessings -- failed miserably. And God wanted it that way. He wanted to show me my wound -- He knew I was ready. It was incredibly painful. There were moments I thought I would not make it.

The signs of noncompassion I could handle; it was the signs of near compassion that hurt me the most. As an astute new friend pointed out: you know abandonment, and you know what to do with that. What you don't know is compassion and love, and that is what you cannot handle. I still tear up now knowing how true that is.

It is sad, I think, that some of us go through life expecting relationships to fail. We experience disappointment enough times that we end up compensating by lightening things up, by expecting disconnection, by giving someone an out and, ultimately, by not allowing ourselves to trust.

It's ironic, I guess, that in our quest to protect ourselves we cause ourselves even more pain. The isolation is real and very painful. That is what I had to come to terms with. But something more to the core made me realize that I was not, in fact, trusting God. I was not trusting Him to show me how my covering my needs was actually sabotaging their fulfillment.

How, in fact, that seeing my relationships as they are, while painful, was the very step I needed to take to open myself up to the people that could be there for me. And how being vulnerable is what would finally set me free. Because it is in vulnerability that we let God in intimately and have HIS will move us: beyond ourselves and into Love, beyond our intellectual choice and own will -- for to love is not a choice, it is a divine gift that God places in our vessel. Our choice is a mere illusion of Love if the author of Love, God, has not willed it. And that illusion will die if the author of Love does not eventually reside in our choice.

I know my vessel is sometimes full of things that ultimately are not good for me. This Christmas season, I was strong enough to allow Him to begin to shape me by opening and breaking me, all for my own good. For His Love needs lots of room, and I was always full at the inn with my own distractions, preoccupations, and obligations.
This breaking is unique for all of us. Some have it early, some have it late and, sadly, I suppose, some never have it at all in this life.

Even though we all, in the end, are seeking to love and to be loved, we don't always find the source of that Love. We look for love in all the wrong places, as one song puts it. But when we do look for Love in the right place, it does sometimes cost us with real pain as we tear down the illusions.

But then we are free to surrender to Love and to God. He can then open our hearts so we can Love one another the way we each individually need to be loved. For our needs are not all the same. On top of that, they change and morph. It takes all of you to really love another person. And most of us on our own strength never even come close to stretching that far. It's why we need God not only to give us the strength to love but to show us how to love. It takes us being vulnerable.

God's power (Love) can move mountains. We have all heard of the mother who lifts up a 2,000-pound car when her child is trapped underneath it. And perhaps some of you have seen the movie Lorenzo's Oil in which frantic parents come up with a serum to save their child from an unknown disease. Or perhaps you have seen Conviction, in which a woman sacrifices everything to save her brother. Yes Love/God is powerful, beautiful, and scary all at once. It requires all of us. And if we are into self-protection or weighing the costs then we will fail. But if we surrender to God then Love never fails.

I'll leave you with a substitution of Love where God is normally found and similarly substituting God for love. I pray to my Almighty Father that this will not offend Him, and I pray it won't offend any of you.

The Lord's prayer would go like this:

Our Lover, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Love's name. Love's kingdom come, Love's will be done on earth as it is in heaven. In love give us our daily bread, and in love forgive us our trespasses, as in love we forgive those who trespass against us, and Love lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.

God makes the world go 'round.

And the Beatles song... All you need is God.

As we end this year may we embrace our destiny and know that, in the end, it is all about God.


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