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Monday, January 20, 2014

Thorns

Humanity is plagued by certain things. We all have our thorns that dig into, causing us to think that if this or that were just plucked out of our lives, everything would be perfect. I have thought that so many times: If there were just one adjustment to the bad to make them bearable, or the good to make them great, I would never want for more. I could finally heal from the poisonous, toxic thorns that keep me from the utter joy of life.

Why are there even thorns? Seriously, why do rosebushes have thorns? They are flowers. If they get attacked by some crazy rival flowers that have attained awareness, then yes, I understand the defenses. To my knowledge that hasn't happened, so why the thorns? There is this whole mythos of thorns and beauty and taking the good with the bad and I just wonder: is it really for my sake; to somehow equip me to better enjoy the roses, by walking through the thorns, or is it just something stupid that roses have got going on?

Every princess has her tower, and a dragon that guards her. Every mountain has avalanches? (I don't know, just go with it) and every rose, truly does have its thorns. But what am I supposed to learn about life from this?

I have written and thought extensively about how the struggles in life cause you to determine what is worth persuing. Is that princess worth possibly dying for? Or does the dragon steal your full measure of resolve? I think I get that. If there were no "thorns" then every decision would be meaningless: risk would cease to cost anyone anything and perhaps even things like love or devotion would be forgotten in the face of safety and lack of pain. This poses the question: would I even know a rose is a rose without its thorns? Would it just be lost among the myriad of defenseless plants? Is that why giving a rose means more, because you have to go through the thorns to pick one?

What about other thorns? What if its just something you must live with and can never really do anything about and it just makes life miserable without any clear indication why? I guess a better question would be: where is the rose in all these thorns? I'm fighting the dragon, but where is the princess? Dare I say, it is good practice? Maybe thats what it is. I don't think I can admit that to myself right now, but maybe thats it. In addition, maybe the battles we fight on our own are how we love ourselves. Maybe the dragons we fight alone are the dragons that keep us alive. 

I don't know how it works, or why bad things happen, or why these thorns terrorize the radiant power of joy. I don't know why the dragons we all face always seem like more trouble than they are worth, and why they don't seem to ever really die. All I can do is hope we learn to fight our dragons together, and somehow convince ourselves that the thorns are worth the roses - even the ones we can't see.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Abundant Life

I always thought abundant life meant lots of good life. I thought it might mean that I got to have fun all the time and not care about bad things that happened, if they even happened anymore, which they wouldn't.

I guess this week I realized that if you ask for life, and more life, it means everything is amplified. That means the highs are higher and the lows, which are still there, are much lower. The spectrum is extended and things get cranked up to 11.

Sometimes, like now, that sucks. The worst song in the world is playing in my face and I'm realizing I signed up for this. Haha, right?

I've been learning the role of hope in all this. And its role right now is to make abundance bearable. Sometimes it becomes too much. Reality becomes the enemy and the way things are becomes everything you hoped it wouldn't. Hope didn't stop anything from happening, but it'll walk with you into the terrifying abundance that will try and choke it to death. Hope believes when we can't anymore. So i'll let it. I'll let it come with me. When its gone, its gone.

Abundant life is about all of life. The good, the difficult, the painful, the convictions and the compromises, the long nights, the nights that are too short, the depths and the heights. Its about love and hate; the extremes and the grey, and how you respond to them.

I'm learning though, if I'm going to really live, I'm going to have to dive into the darkness with hope as my only light. I can only hope its worth it.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

When I Say I Love You

Love is a choice. It cannot be bought or borrowed or forced or coerced. It can only be given and received.

I have seen a lot of love in my lifetime. I saw it in the airport as a young couple talked with their son. I thought I saw it epitomized in so many marriages. I have read it in the pages of books and seen it on Hollywood screens; in the Bible and in the memories of those on whom love has left its indelible mark. There are a lot of people who have tried to convince me that they are the ones that are right about love, and the amazing thing is that I cannot prove them wrong because it seems like the definitions are always changing. However, maybe the people that I know that are in love are the ones that keep changing; keep obscuring the view. Maybe it is us who have misplaced the meaning of the word that used to hold the power of the Universe in it's hands, and that shook mountains and raised the dead, and was simply what it was, which was wonderful; unexplainable except for the single syllable almost gasped out at times; whispered, shouted and done.

I have started to see that a lot of things said about love that I believed, are not true at all. Love is not passive or insane or proud. It does not know that it is behaving sacrificially when it makes sacrifices. I do not claim to know now, or understand love in any comprehensive way and it is something that has become more beautiful to me because of how it is mystery mixed with brash straightforwardness. All I really seem to know is how I want to relate to love in my own life, based on the experiences that I have had with it. I don't want to throw around a word that I don't mean and so I want to at least know what I mean when I say it, even if that is just a small piece of what love might be. 

When I say I love you I will not say it out of duty. I will not say it because it is what I should say. I will not say it because I am compelled to say it. For a long time I believed that love was a tyranny; that eventually you were overpowered by love. I don't think that is true. I think surrender is a choice and fighting is a choice and retreat is a choice.

I will not say I love you because I want to hide myself behind who you are in order to escape who I am. For a long time I thought that I needed to make someone love me in order to make myself feel lovable. I also thought that I could escape into another person and find in them an adventure that would satisfy my soul. It turns out that other people are just as human as me and that they will let me down. Also I think you can indeed lose yourself in someone else. The thought, however, is terrifying to me, rather than comforting. Love is not losing yourself, it is the process of being found.

I will not say I love you out of fear that you will leave if I don't say it. I will also probably break all of these rules at one time or another, but even when I am blinded by my own loneliness and insecurity, I hope the people around me won't be.

I will say I love you because it is something I am choosing to give. I will say it in spite of all the lies that tell me that I am unlovable and dirty and worthless and damaged and hopelessly lost. I will say it because I am choosing to love you in the face of every insecurity and failure and dark corner in my mind, and because I am choosing to embrace yours. I know that I cannot stay in the gray area of indifference and paralysis because of fear or shame and call it love. I want either to hate or to love you, but not neither. I will say I love you when I find the courage, because one thing I've learned about love is that it is extreme and it is bold and it is fearless. I will say I love you when I want you to listen to your own heart, even if that means being away from me. When I say I love you, I will not love perfectly. I will say it because it is worth the risk.