Saturday, October 13, 2007

Another reflection

It's not yet 6:00 and I'm already in my pajamas, sitting in bed while I blog. I could easily go to bed now and not get up until morning, but I won't. I'm tired and relaxed, so it's hard to keep my eyes open. Last night some friends and I went out to the farm, walked around outside, petting goats, and admiring the vegetables. We cooked dinner and ate outside. With little more than crickets and an occasional dog barking for background noise, we had a calm, crisp, quiet night to enjoy each other's company, some good food, and a peaceful retreat from the city. And then this morning, I got up early to run (9 miles, thankyouverymuch!) and worked for a few hours, so I'm mush, but I've still got laundry to do, a phone call to make, and Sunday School to prepare, so I'll have to find some way to stay awake.

I've been thinking a lot about my last post. I appreciate the comments, though my intention at the time wasn't to sound quite so shaky about my own sense of who I am in relationships. I think the last question grows out of a desire to understand what are realistic expectations of my self and anyone else in a relationship, and to honor the fact that in my experience love's constancy has not been felt fully in one relationship. My mom loves me. I'm certain of that, but it is not the kind of accepting love that offers me the freedom to be myself fully with her. That's not likely to change, though I will remain open to that possibility.

How do I integrate this sense of disconnection from the people in my past into my life? My faith? My understanding of who God is? It would be easy, perhaps too easy, for me to immediately go to a conviction that God is capable of consistent, unconditional love, but people aren't. But I find myself shying away from an old habit of projecting my unfulfilled longings and wishes onto God in a way that makes God just the idealization of humanity.

Given what I've been through in the past few years, I can't imagine doubting the constancy of love. The problem, I think, though, is that I've located love within those who do the loving. I've found myself wondering this week if love is something that exists independent of the people we know who love. Maybe it is a force in the world that we open ourselves to and become vessels through which it can flow both to ourselves and to others, but which can also become blocked from time to time. If that is true, my experience of never really experiencing a constant accepting love from any one person doesn't have to lead me to the conclusion constant love does not exist. The truth is, though no one person has offered that kind of love, there hasn't been a day in my life when I didn't experience love. Though those who have loved me, and whom I have loved, have changed, love has remained constant. I can see that only when I separate it out from the individual people in my life.

And if that is true, then maybe that force I call love that exists independent of us is really God. The one great principle of Christian scriptures which I have clung to, particularly in all the shifts and doubts in my own faith, is that God is love. In some ways that has been my creed, my only true statement of faith. And it is one I can honestly say fits with my experience. Deep conviction in its truth helps me accept impermanence as a reality of life, and to welcome the gifts it brings.

5 comments:

Songbird said...

Beautiful, Linda.

Katherine E. said...

Hmmm. Wow. Lovely reflection, Linda.

Jan said...

Linda, this is a powerful and beautiful reflection. I am someone who has a hard time receiving or feeling the connecting love. It helps me to remember what you wrote--that "love is something that exists independent of the people we know who love. Maybe it is a force in the world that we open ourselves to and become vessels through which it can flow both to ourselves and to others, but which can also become blocked from time to time." I think that's the truth of Love/God/the Divine. Thank you.

Marie said...

I love this. I love how you share your journey with us, right there in the writing. Montaigne invented the essay genre and its name in French means "try" or "try on". This post is a wonderful example of you trying on some beautiful theology and we're privileged to share it.

Marie said...

I have to stop doing that first person plural thing. What I mean is, "I feel privelged to share it."