Saturday, July 10, 2010

Teach me, truly, how to love.

Everything feels very strange right now.

I am being asked to be quiet.

And anyone who knows me well, knows just how difficult that is for me.

As a person who writes, I have this tendency to define myself by whether or not I am currently or consistently doing the thing by which I have named myself- a "writer".
I guess I somehow believe myself to be failing myself if I am not getting out whatever is going on inside of me. And I'm not sure if that is because I honestly believe that to aid in my ability to process things, or if it is because I want people to know what is going on inside of me. Which, don't get me wrong, is not a bad thing in and of itself, but it has become more detrimental than beneficial. Why? Because I have begun to think of myself as more than I am, according to my ability alone. And when you are living in and constantly buying into such a lie, you are constantly desiring to hear those lies repeated back to you.
In short, I want to share my thoughts because I want people to tell me how great they are.
And that is more often than not, my entire motivation for writing them down in the first place. I wonder what people are going to think, what they are going to say, how they will view me because of them.

And right now, I am being asked to stop. Stop all of those things, and step away so that I can do nothing but listen for a very long time. Listen, so that I can be told by my Beloved who I really am. And truly, it is so much more than I would ever dare to think myself to be.

This scares the living shit out of me, though I can't say why. Not because I am being asked to be quiet about it alone, but literally because I don't have the ability to. That's the story of my life these days, to be honest. I do not even have the ability to put into utterance the thoughts in my mind, leadings in my spirit, and feelings in my heart. Something is happening within me and it is so much larger than I am able to express. It speaks from a different place and in a different way altogether. It is something Other entirely. And the fragility of that is what scares me the most. I carry within me precious cargo that I haven't the slightest clue how to begin to deliver. And what if I deliver it wrong? Or at the wrong time? Or simply in the wrong way?

But see, there, even those thoughts expose my simple and silly misunderstanding of the thing itself. Because not only does it not matter HOW or WHEN it is brought forth, but it also doesn't require ME to bring it forth at all. I did not plant it in the first place, I cannot cause it to grow. My only role is to lay it down. To surrender it. To allow it to die.
I must allow ALL things to die. Within and without.

Because only after things are burned on the altar can they be resurrected as intended.

And this is what I must learn of love.
Because if the above is true, then I know nothing of love at all.
What I believe to be love is nothing more than a seeking to satisfy a desire or longing; to fulfill an insecurity within myself; to avoid feeling left or abandoned; to begin or continue feeling wanted or appreciated; to be the object of emotional affection and physical attraction. And notice, that all of those things listed, should they be fulfilled, would benefit only ME.
This is not the way the Great Lover loves me. Or anyone.

So while I know what love is NOT, I do not yet know what love is.
Save one thing:
Love is letting go.

And no, I do not mean this in the poetic or lyrical sense, or even the cliche of, "If you love something, let it go; and if it comes back, it is yours." Partly because that's cheesy, but mostly because that is a lie.
Nothing is ever yours.
Nothing is ever mine.
And we cannot let go with the hope that anything will ever "come back", because if we do, then we have found ourselves in the place of needing created things more than we trust the Creator.
We must have a... detachment, of sorts, to all created things. Do not hear what I am not saying, though, and think I mean for us all to exist without emotions, or feelings, or desires, or longings. Of course that is not possible. BUT those things and people that we desire and care for the most, we must be the most willing to let go of. Because in letting go, we do not lose them. We place them where they belong.
In what looks like love, we are told that we should cling to things in order to keep them close because we "love" them. How is this love? This is nothing more than desire. We label is "love" so that it appears selfless, when really, what we are actually saying is, "I will forget who I am without you, so you cannot leave me." What deep and dangerous fear is wrapped up in that posture of spirit! And also, what abuse of another! If I feel that I need you more than I trust Him with you and myself, then I have made so much more of you than you are, and so much less of Him than he is. Why would we ever want to live like that? I believe that we really don't want to, and don't ever intend to, but we have a hard time seeing things as they really are and calling them by their true names.

Now, if we don't know any better and have not been lead into Truth, we would think that this kind of thinking and "feeling" would, in a way, call us to be disconnected with people and things- to hold everything so loosely. Actually, it is the definition of connection and engagement- to find ourselves, individually and collectively, so deeply rooted in the love of Christ that He may do what He wills in and through our relationships and connections.
And if this becomes true for us, then not only will we not fret when things appear to dissolve, but we will be in such a place where we find ourselves even unable to fret. Because Truth speaks louder than lies and tells us that the things that we have let go of are not lost, and never will be. They are where they have always been meant to be- at the foot of the throne of God.

There is a lot to learn from "loss"- namely, that there is no such thing as loss. Also, that what we have been taught to think of as such is not as painful as we have always feared, but rather an incredible opportunity for abundant joy. In reality, it is simply saying, whether by initiation or response, "I place you where you belong, so that I can learn to love you. I could not hold you, even if I wanted to, for I am already clinging to Christ."

I understand very little of my own thoughts, feelings, and words these days. I don't know what my Beloved is doing within me, but I know that I trust Him as I have never trusted Him before. Even though I have spoken those words in the past, they were spoken in an attempt to convince myself that everything would be okay. They were conditional. A means to an end. A bandage on a wound. Something I sought in order to make me "stop worrying" or "stop crying" or "stop fearing". But the place I have found myself in now is that I am completely and utterly unable to worry, or cry, or fear. And all this while finding myself in the Valley of Loss.
I literally cannot feel anything but joy.

There is certainly some great secret that is being planted in me now. One that I don't even have the ability to recognize or name. And that is exactly as it should be. For Heaven truly forbid I ever believe that I have the ability to water it, prune it, tend to it, or grow it myself.

Oh, Great Gardener, Great Lover, Great Host-
Keep me quiet.
Allow me only to speak in a language created and understood by You.
Teach my, truly, how to love.

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