Friday, May 24, 2013

Love, up close and personal

Love from a distance is easy. It's easy to "love" someone when they are as far away from you as you can possibly get and they have no ability to hurt you or to cause you grief or to make you struggle.  That kind of love is so easy, anyone can do it.  Love up close and personal, that's the tough stuff.  That's the stuff that's maddening and makes you go crazy.  That's the stuff that wounds you and frightens you and leaves you on your knees begging for mercy.  It's also the most powerful stuff in the world, because it's only when you can love up close and personal that you can ever really be known by another human being and experience the true, redemptive power of love.

I've been walking on this earth for 37 years now, and for the first time in my life I am forced to confront how poorly I really love others. I am fine loving them from a distance, holding them at arm's length, letting them go and not chasing after them.  That's because I haven't been willing to deal with the disappointments and the pain that comes when you really and truly let people in those doors and make yourself known. I haven't been willing to speak the words they need to hear from me because I'm too afraid those words are going to come back at me in the form of weapons aimed straight at my heart.  I'm a coward.  I prefer to run because running is easier. It's not what my loved ones deserve. It's not what God wants for them, or for me, but it's easier.

I've known for several years that God wants me to write my story and share it with the world, and I've found 50 million reasons not to do it. I know why, too.  The thought of so completely and totally opening myself up to others, of making myself vulnerable and known in that kind of way, that thought frightens me. I am still such a fragile creature no matter how much I tell myself I'm strong, that I block off thoughts of doing what I know God needs me to do.  Its not fair to God, to those whose lives I might be able to help for the better with my story, to those that I love.  I need to invite them in, to welcome them, to allow them to take up the couches and sofas and empty rooms that are in my heart.

I will end this meditation with a prayer:

Lord, you are asking me to allow you to make me new. You are asking me to open my heart fully to receive others without holding back. You are asking me to be courageous, to love fearlessly, and with reckless abandon. Lord, I want to be remade. I want new eyes to see them, new ears to listen to their voices and yours. I want to be the woman that you want them to receive. I ask that you make me new, I ask that you help me to hear your voice and to see the things that you have in mind for me.

I understand and accept that the changes you need to make may be painful and may require much suffering on my part before they are completed. I am willing to place my trust in you and to accept whatever you have in mind. I ask only that you give me the grace I need to endure whatever it is with a joyful heart, knowing that you do it for my good and for the healing of our relationships. 

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