Friday, July 24, 2015

The Narrow Road of Growing in Love

I'll be the first to admit that I'm lazy. We're all lazy. Let's face it.

But let's also dwell on this fact: if we remain lazy, we will never grow in love.

When we see the smallness of our love, the way that our lives are dominated by mediocrity, we are tempted to just reduce our expectations, or to put off the business of growing in love.

We pretend that we're "okay," that our lazy, mediocre lives are "good enough." But they're not.

We don't want to admit to ourselves that we are made for love, that all the turmoil inside of us is the anguished cry of our being, the cry for love. Even underneath our laziness is a kind of desperation to hold onto what we have, because we don't know if there is anything out there "beyond ourselves" and we don't want to take the risk.

But really, are you satisfied with what you have now. Really?

Still, we don't even know how to begin living the depth of love that stirs within us. We are afraid. How awful it is to face our fragility, our vulnerability, our weakness, our failures, and the deep wounds of our own selves.

And we can become frozen in our shriveled hearts if we give in to discouragement. "I have tried to love before, but all I've done is screw things up. I don't know how to love and I don't want to try. It's too dangerous!"

This is a moment where my freedom is challenged in a critical way. I have a choice. I can give in to discouragement. Or I can begin from my poverty, and beg for help.

When we do cry out for help, it may feel like a waste of time, because help doesn't seem to be coming. There are no signs and wonders, no great miracles. We are still broken and confused. We are begging for help, but it seems that nothing happens, nothing changes.

That is not true.

Look! We are already doing something.

In that begging is already the recognition that we need to love and to be loved. In that begging is already the recognition that there is someone worth loving. If I were really alone, it would never even occur to me to ask. Someone is already here, helping me now.

So I beg for help, I beg for the One who is already helping me, loving me: the One who is with me. And I begin to love. Of course, I'm still confused. I forget. But there are moments when I remember, and I know when this happens that I am not the source of that memory. The One who loves me touches my life. I give Him thanks, and I beg for these moments to increase.

This asking, this prayer, allows Him to open our hearts and draw us, more and more. It allows Him to shine light on our lives so that we might see their meaning, more and more, in relation to Him.

This is the narrow road of growing in love.