Wednesday, April 29, 2009

All We Need is Love



Page 165 struck me like a lightening bolt. I read it over and over. I practically memorized it. I scribbled it down, panic-stricken that the words were a mirage, soon to disappear as quickly as I saw them:
The Rabbi {Jesus} implores, "Don't you understand that discipleship is not about being right or being perfect or being efficient? It's all about the way you live with each other." In every encounter we either give life or we drain it. There is no neutral exchange. We enhance human dignity, or we diminish it. The success or failure of a given day is measured by the quality of our interest and compassion toward those around us. We define ourselves by our response to human need. (emphasis mine)
I kept reading it. And the more I read it, the faster and louder my heart raced. A feeling of sobering conviction washed over me. It was as if I had unlocked the mystery of the universe...or at least of my own little world.

The book is Abba's Child by Brennan Manning. It's had a profound impact on my life. Lily told me recently, You need to read that book again. I'm glad I listened.

This book brings truth and perspective to the Voices and the Got Nothin' days. Those days that are all too frequent around here.

Manning's words inspired a revolution in my mind and soul.

What if love could be the motivating force behind every task, every human exchange?

What if I began to measure the success or failure of each day differently?

And I do, by the way, measure the success or failure of each and every day. Productivity. Efficiency. Tasks. Projects. My success meter is so much about works it makes me physically ill. And because I'm so easily distracted by fun and creative pursuits...and naps, I typically don't finish each day well by my own standards.

What if a successful day is one in which I've loved well?

I've learned, painfully, that I don't. Love well, that is. I forget. I offend. I neglect. I withdraw. I speak harshly. I serve begrudgingly.

And I've struggled to reconcile how I can love others so fiercely within yet that same loves fails to manifest itself in word and deed. I still don't have an answer. I just know that I'm sick of it being that way.

What if love could be the underlying current beneath all the mundane tasks each day holds?

Laundry as love:

Yes, you hate laundry. But see it as love. Clothe your precious ones in clean garments. You don't want them to have even a moment of anxiety over a drawer that holds no clean underpants.

Repetitive service as love.

Yes, the van is running and you're already late...but run back in and fill their water bottles. Again. They're hot and thirsty. Remember that they are forgetful and still-learning children. Don't beat them up with harsh words and a scornful glare.

Planning ahead as love.

Yes, you could get a few more things done but start earlier than you usually do. Don't make yourself vulnerable to yelling at children who have no sense of urgency.

Bedtime routine as love.

Yes, you're tired...but so are they. They're also hungry and dirty and you're the one they look to. The one who offers them food. The one who gently washes them clean and has warm jammies set out for them.

Days managed poorly as love.

True, you haven't loved well today. You've been selfish and harsh. And bafflingly inefficient. You've chased mindless distractions. But it's okay. Tomorrow's a new day. You are Abba's beloved child. Quit beating yourself mercilessly. There was one already beaten on your behalf. Walk in beautiful freedom, unending love, and limitless grace.

Countless what-if's played on in my head all day long. I realized that every conversation, every word, every bit of labor and seeming drudgery...could be different.

How I measured each day...could be different.

It could all be taken captive by love.

Not the sort of fleeting love conjured up by guilt and willpower and I'm-gonna-do-better-ness. That sort of love lasts about an hour, if I'm lucky.

I need to humbly and eagerly receive a love bigger than myself, gobbling it up like a ravenous beggar.

I need to know I'm loved well before I can love others well.

I'm praying for this love...to be filled up with it every day, for my Abba Father to pour it into me so that it gushes into every nook and cranny of my life.

Transformed.

A new creation.

One taken captive by love.

9 comments:

  1. Oh, this post spoke to me.

    Viewing the menial chores as love. Even though I am tired (which I am ALL the time) taking time to love my children and hubby sacrificially. I sit here totally convicted. And inspired.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

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  2. Have you read Kathleen Norris's little book The Quotidian Mysteries? It echoes many of the same sentiments you have here.
    A beautiful post!

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  3. Wow, this really spoke to me. Very profound. I will be checking that out. Thanks for sharing this with your readers today.

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  4. Beautifully written from a beautiful heart. I love you!

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  5. What a beautiful post. Wow! this is timely for me today as well.
    Thank you for the words of encouragement.
    Thank you for sharing and -- keep writing --
    love ya!

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  6. really, really great post my dear!

    I think my husband has the book and I've never even picked it up--and I love to read!

    off to find it, and do a little lovin' laundry.

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  7. Marian,

    I have been catching up on your blog tonight and have been blessed. Thanks for your writing!
    Cindy G.

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  8. Hi! I love your post. It is very inspiring and in some ways it talks about many different things about life. Continue sharing this to everyone. God bless!

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