Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Love

The book I'm reading by Henri Nouwen has some good thoughts in it. Here is another little bit that I've contemplated for a while now:

Such discoveries remind us of our humble place in the scheme of things. The7y keep us from self-aggrandizement. Perhaps our need to hold life loosely is no more evident than in our daily relationships. Loving someone means allowing the other person to respond in ways you have no control over. Every time you engage yourself in an intimate, loving way with someone else you become at last partly subject to the exhilaration of hearing another person's yes or the disappointment in his or her no. The more people you love, the more pain you may experience. For the great mystery of love is that while it can be received, it can also be rejected. Every time you love you enter into the risk of love....That is what his [Jesus'] death meant-being out of control for our sakes, from great love.

Our pain and suffering of the Lord are intimately connected. When we mourn, we die to something that gives us  a sense of who we are. In this sense suffering always has much to do with the spiritual life. We surrender our striving denial of our limitations. We release our hold on a piece of our identity as a spouse, a parent, a member of church...We may even suffer for our faith. Jesus' first followers were handed over to persecution and death. And so we admit, not without many tears, that we sometimes must let go of what we hold very dear. (from Turn My Mourning Into Dancing  29-30)

The absolute scariest thing for me now is to have my love rejected. Initially, it was nearly impossible to put myself in situations where it could. But, I had to. In order to move beyond that paralyzing fear of rejection, I had to still open my arms in love- especially to children.

My niece and nephews have been a balm to my hurt heart. So has another friend's boy, and our former neighbor girls. It's amazing to me how each little choice I make to risk love, risk being rejected has strengthened my capacity to love. I was telling S the other day that the "fist bump" is quite helpful. Kids are kids, and if they don't want to give affection, they're not going to. So saying goodbye can be rough on the adult who gets pushed away or ran from- especially when their heart is hurting. But the poor child doesn't want to give affection-and shouldn't be forced to.  They'll give a fist bump though- and it may even put a smile on their face.