A business man broke down and cried in my husbands arms last summer, in an amusement park. His son just dead.
A woman showed up in our drive way one night because her mother had just suicided.
We had a service man confess abuse.
If I can make you no other guarantee on this earth I can make you this: Someone will hurt you. Cut you deep and make you want to hate them. You will want to write them off, abandon and wave the wand of forgive, think the job is done.
The moment you think of them with dread, intimidation, anger. The moment you wish them unwell in the future. The moment you imagine something dreadful…guess what? The wand failed, and you my friend have some hard work to do…again.
Your job my friend, to love them as we love ourselves, is the most important one. And me? Thinking those thoughts, those feelings, well I’m afraid…I can’t yet call myself a ‘forgiver’. I got work to do.
But really what does that mean? I thought I knew. Be nice. Be sweet. Don’t make waves.
It isn’t that.
It’s so much harder than that.
Its ‘I hope you feel better after this confrontation, its I hope you leave this feeling more loved no matter what it costs me. Its I won’t defend my rights, I’ll become an advocate for yours. Its I will fight for you as much as I fight for myself. Its introspection and seeing yourself for who you really are, your scarred and clumsy self. Its admitting your fault and asking forgiveness and starting fresh.
Sometimes loving someone as yourself says:
Where is this coming from? How have I hurt you? What has our life together meant to you? How have I fallen short? How could I have loved you better? Heard your words? Felt your motives? Defended you? Fought for you?
How can I now LOVE YOU AS I LOVE MYSELF?
Its hard. Most days I fail.
Sometimes you just want to defend yourself and say ‘that isn’t what I said, or meant, or acted’. Sometimes you want to win.
Sometimes its hard to turn the cheek.
Sometimes its easier to be snide, hurtful, superior.
Sometimes its easier to ignore issues, hide behind pretense, wait for the storm to pass.
Loving each other in truth is hard. It’s the very hardest thing. It wraps up all the other living for God traits into one neat package. You must be brave and humble. Strong and compassionate. Loving as yourself means that I’m not trying to win. It means the ideal end result is a tie…a photo finish.
(an edited post from the archives because sometimes you need a reminder. You know?)