How do we repair the breach that frustrates us, and that divides us against ourselves and from one another? How do we renew ourselves and find the oneness of being that characterizes sound, healthful living? We may begin, as has long been established, by recognizing the need to fix ourselves, and then proceed to seek the restoration of our relationships wherever possible.
Of some afflictions we are the authors; of others we may be the victims. With honest reflection we find ourselves needing to forgive ourselves our own indiscretions, and seek forgiveness where we have been the source of pain. In the course of this healing initiative we will find it necessary to forgive those who have trespassed against us. We will also discover that we cannot fix every relationship around us that have in some way impacted us. It becomes necessary here to just walk away… let time and distance deal with those. Forgive where you can, forego where you must.
There are many stumbling blocks in our personal journeys that can make our way forward rather treacherous. Some of these are there as facts of our lives, others we may have had a hand in creating. Instead of continuously tripping ourselves up, we must eventually find ways to make these potential obstacles into stepping stones… (cliche intended). This becomes possible when we harbor the wisdom… and the courage… to avoid or navigate our way over and around the scandals that give life to our personal and interpersonal dysfunctions. Wisdom enters into the places where we live our lives when we allow humility to open our doors to her. She enters in when we are ready to accept her help. She takes our hands when we are ready to let her lead. She speaks when we are ready to listen.
In a culture that celebrates the rambunctious, unproductive argument – we must learn to face the circumstances before us with resolve, and speak the truth to and about them without malice. Deep breath… deeeep breath. This is never easy, but there is a reward for trying. There is certain liberation that comes from diffusing our anger. That freedom to act creativelycomes from our restraining the impulse to “let the other person have it” – verbally and otherwise. We can learn how to free ourselves from our own harshness. Truth spoken without venom has a certain healing quality. Instead of creating discord, it acts as a tonic. Instead of depressing us, it acts as an elixir. Instead of poisoning the discourse, it acts as an antidote. This way of engaging makes us stronger. It helps to restore our joy. Ultimately it might be the remedy we need for what ails us.
The freedom to act creatively is enabled by two dynamics… Forgiveness and Love. While this season is still new, we are forcefully reminded to focus on seminal events that figure significantly in effecting our redemption. This is that moment in time when we seek to facilitate the birthing of the Christ among us. This Christ is the universal Influence that seeks to redeem us… to restore us to our best selves, and to reconcile us to our Creator and to each other.
Our redemption necessarily begins with the recognition and admission of our need to be forgiven for our own tendencies to miss the mark… to mess up… to sin. Our lives are works in progress. None of us have any claim to perfection. This being the case, we can relieve ourselves of the burden of guilt that accumulates over time because of that naivety which evidences our lack of wisdom. If we can face the fact of our own unfinished-ness, then we might not be so terribly judgmental in our assessment of the shortcomings of others.
We begin our own healing with understanding the need for forgiveness in ourselves, and in others. First we admit our flaws and our faults… and those of others around us, and then we make a commitment to walk away from them. Forgiveness is the unburdening that comes when we act to leave our faults and those of our neighbor in the past where they belong.
The other aspect of the freedom to act creatively has to do with the cultivation of that resource which is in fact the ultimate expression of our wholeness. That resource is Love. A meaningful and durable expression of Love must go beyond any romantic notion of being together. Romance most certainly has its place, but we should all be aware that Eros has always been, and will always be a transient. Feelings come and go based on the culture of convenience and the fatuousness that typifies many of our interactions. The cultivation of a true Love must be grounded in a sense of selflessness – not in the shallowness of our egos. A ‘love’ which does not serve us beyond the moment, and beyond the trappings of an infatuation that is mostly concerned with our own self-satisfaction, is never durable.
Love in its purest and most lasting form is an unconditional commitment to what is just. A true love is rooted in a genuine concern for the growth and well-being of the lover and the loved. That kind of love rescues us from the miry clay of our own self-indulgence, and from the tricky self-indulgence of others. We will not always like each other, but we have a moral/ethical duty to treat others as we want to be treated ourselves. The carried consciousness of this duty becomes the agency for enhancing what is best about us, and what can be really good between us. Love grows in us and between us the grace that enables us to be vessels of the Christ who comforts the lonely, feeds the hungry, is the healer of the broken-hearted, and the liberator of the oppressed.