Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Show me how to love without limit, how to open my heart to those who are different. Show me how to embrace, envelop, and nurture those who turn me away. Show me how to accept, how to accept rather than tolerate. Show me how to find the light where I see only dark, how to smile when I want to cry. Show me love where I see hate. Show me the seed of myself in the face of the other. Show me. Show me how to love.
When others spit at me, spit in my face, hold me strong. Chin up and head held high, help me move forward in your way. Give me strength, give me courage, and arms that hold me tight. Show me. Show me where you need me to be in this trying time. Show me how to stand, how to stand not for myself but for others who need what I am about. Show me how to do that which I cannot do. For them. For you.
I do not exist in this world on my own. Nor do I breathe or move or dance in a space that is composed of those exactly like me. My world is rich and deep and alive because I have known many unlike myself. Can I love one so different? How can I not?
I love cake. I love funky earrings. I love a cheesy romance.
But do I love a soul who does not love me? How do I love one who spews hatred and ignorance and vile, ugly words? How do I love one who has caused me pain and torn me down? How do I love then? Do I love?
I love a good book. I love his quirky humor. I love a long walk on the beach.
Making light of a heavy word. This love is easy.
But how do I love when the face I see represents the very extreme of that which I live, me in opposite form?
Show me how to love without limit, how to open my heart to those who are different. You have not created in MY image, but in YOURS. How am I, then, to hate? How am I to judge? Each face I see is your child, your love. Each face, each face is you. Show me. Show me how to love.
Show me how to embrace, envelop, and nurture those who turn me away.
Because there WILL be those who turn me away. They will turn me away because I am not like them. They will turn me away and call me names. They will hurt me more than I have ever been hurt. Help me to move forward. Help me to move forward with strength and courage to do the work you have put me here to do. Help me to move forward in the face of adversity to spread love, to spread love and compassion and to live your word. Help me to move forward. For others. For you.
I love my dogs at my feet. I love the first snow, a baby’s behind, the feeling of clothes fresh from the dryer. I love chocolate.
Show me the seed of myself in the face of the other. When I look and see a stranger, show me a friend. Show me the me in the face that looks so different, the life so at odds. Show me how very much we are the same, how very much we are one. Show me the piece of you that lies in us both. Show me.
I love a good glass of wine, corny jokes, and candlelit dinners. I love songs that remind me of special times. I love one who can show me what it is I have to offer the world, who can cut through the crap and get to my core. I love a challenge, to make something happen when others say it won’t.
Show me how to open my heart to those who are different. Show me how to embrace, envelop, and nurture those who turn me away. Show me how to accept, how to accept rather than tolerate.
Show me. Show me how to love.
Friday, December 20, 2013
A darkened room, twinkling lights, music so soft and beautiful I cannot describe, my cat curled beside me on the couch, my dog on the floor at my feet. I am a couple of glasses now into the wine and may have found the peace in my heart that I have lacked in this holiday rush. I sit in my old robe and husband’s socks, fresh from a steamy shower, shower complete with candles, music, and lavender soap. I am remembering to breathe. I have forgotten how to do this in all the holiday bustle. Funny. How does one forget that which keeps her alive? I have forgotten, too, to smile, to love, to treasure. And how, too, can this be? Isn’t this the reason for this “joyous” season?
I am not certain anymore the reason for the season. I could hardly pick up my dinner tonight for the maddening traffic. Cars. Cars everywhere. Does Christmas not come at the same time every year? Why must we always wait until the last minute to select gifts? I’ve SEEN the thought that goes into those last minute gifts. I worked retail during and after college for a bit. I once had a man throw a pencil at me. At what point, I wonder, is it okay to say to oneself, “I am so angry with my life and my situation right now that I am going to throw something at this minimum wage employee, this teenage girl.” One of my students had a customer throw a hot drink at her. Another had a sandwich shoved into her hand. “This is NOT what I ordered.” And all of this "joyous" giving is done in the name of love. Love for the recipient. Love for God.
Keep Christ in Christmas.
How many times have I heard this?
And, yet, I’m pretty sure Christ never maxed out his VISA. I don’t think He would have cared if you bedazzled your bare shoulders with a little holiday sparkle for the company Christmas party or sent engraved cards to all of your friends, whether you brought pumpkin cheesecake or your mom’s traditional cheeseball to the family potluck or opted out of cookie trays for the neighbors for the rest of your life. But we do this in love, right? We do it to spend quality time with family and friends, to focus on that which matters, to keep Christ in Christmas. Why, then, the guilt trips, the alcohol, the “Let’s just get this over with” mentality? Why the tension and stress?
You may say that keeping Christ in Christmas is about prayer and church and feeling blessed. Why, then, midnight mass? I mean, I know why. But no amount of Jesus in my heart was worth keeping four babies awake or waking them up to celebrate His birth. After playing Santa, coordinating family visits out of town, licking close to a hundred Christmas envelopes, and baking insane amounts of sugar cookies, gingersnaps, and Mexican wedding cakes, there was not a chance in HELL I would have four children in their holiday best at the stroke of midnight. Did this make me less a Christian? Was I not keeping Christ, then, in Christmas?
I preach constantly simplicity, stress management, and self-love. You should know that I am practicing none of that right now. I have complicated my life needlessly to the point of allowing others to take control. I am not very fond of the person I see when I catch a glimpse at myself in the glass. Would Christ, I wonder, want me to feel as defeated as I do? Would He want me to be so at odds with myself, falling apart as I am? I have had soul crushing meltdowns lately in the middle of my kitchen, at the coffee shop, in my car, on the phone with a friend. No parent wants to see his child struggle.
Keep Christ in Christmas.
If I remember my lessons correctly, Christ is about love. He is not about fruitcakes or gifts with purchase or stockings or Secret Santa. Love is not purchased. It is not wrapped. It is not scheduled or decorated or sent. It is me enveloping you in a light that energizes you and warms you and gives you strength. You cannot send that by UPS. You cannot find it in a pew. Love is in the heart. It is only in the heart.