Thursday, October 18, 2012

High Five

Love languages. Have you heard of them? Supposedly there are five ways we humans give and receive love. Most of us have a leaning towards one specific one or maybe even a mixture of a few. They are as listed: Words of affection, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service and physical touch. My need has been the same since I was a little girl, quality time. If I love someone and they don't have time for me, I subconsciously put up walls. I do it so that I wont feel the sting of rejection. But when someone I care about gives me their time and attention, I fall quickly. I told my husband this a thousand times, that my love language is time and attention, it seems like it might finally be sinking in. I will be patient a while longer... see where it takes us.

Why do we have such a hard time giving others what they so desperately need? It's not in our nature. It is however in our nature to work to get what we need, but not to give, clearly that goal becomes counter intuitive. Were we to focus on others needs, ours would eventually get met... at some point... if we're faithful... somewhere... hopefully... down the line.

It's quite the task, loving others. My oldest daughter and I have never been able to communicate well. Even when she was little there was an abundance of arguing. I would see her in her bed and go hold her while she slept cause it seemed like the only way I could bypass the fighting to get close to her. It's still like that now, we just can't seem to communicate, but I think we both know that despite the battles, we love each other very much.

Do you suppose we really don't understand what those closest to us need or do you think we are simply unwilling to give it? My fear is that with anyone I have a relationship with, that I will wait too long to give them what it is they need most. Whether it be that they grow up and leave home, or maybe they just move out of my life and I never see them again. Friendships die... people die... life is short and the thought that words could have been said and time could have been given, yet weren't... makes me very sad.

Sometimes we give ourselves away in too many different places, to people we were not intended to give ourselves to. It's then that we find ourselves spread to thin, with too little to offer. As I've shared before, I have this hope that Heaven will be like a big family picnic... only the potato salad can sit in the sun all day. Heaven's cool like that... and the things we never said, or the people we didn't have time for, will be accessible, and the walls we put up will be torn down, and we wont speak with our mouths, but with our hearts.

As always "must have hope" refers to my only hope. My hope that a heart can be stolen back from the pit of despair, that there is a better world awaiting. If your world seems void of love today, I encourage you to focus on someone who is in need of love. Figure out their love language... and while your at it find out your own.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Quoting the giants.

Helen Keller. I don't think anyone could argue that she wasn't an extraordinary human being. She spent her adult life standing up for those she perceived to be the underdogs. She was a suffragist, a pacifist and appealed for the rights of those with disabilities. She is attributed with some of the most amazing quotes. This is one of my favorites. "I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do." And this one,
"It is wonderful how much time good people spend fighting the devil. If they would only expend the same amount of energy loving their fellow men, the devil would die in his own tracks of ennui." I could go on and on as she lectured and wrote for many years. So what made her so amazing? She was deaf and blind save a year and a half of her infantile life. She was without language or vision, no connection to humanity, almost completely alone in the dark cell of her own mind, but God sent a light through her teacher and friend Ann Sullivan, and as Helen traversed hardships most cannot even fathom, the mainstream world gained access into a world they had been deaf and blind to for generations.

CS Lewis. Just a literary genius, that's all.  His mother died when he was but a boy. He grew up in his head, imagining other worlds, stories, and fantasies, never knowing that reality, like a bomb, would one day explode in his face. As a 19 year old soldier, he found himself in trench warfare. His friends dying all around him. He made a pact with his friend Paddy that if either should be killed, the survivor would take care of the deceased's family. Paddy did indeed die and Lewis held fast to his promise and cared for Paddy's mother until the day she also died. Lewis claimed Atheism as a young man, but as an adult he became a Christian, and said that he had been "very angry with God for not existing." After Lewis put his faith in God, he was filled with the most amazing knowledge that very few have ever been enlightened to. Or maybe the simplest and purest of folk know what he knew, but only he could express the truths of God with such eloquence. He once said, "A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, 'darkness' on the walls of his cell." And this... "God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing." I could also quote him for days on end and it would never begin to wain in significance. 

Mother Teresa. It's so like God to make someone so tiny a spiritual giant. Who was the focus of her lifelong efforts? "The poorest of the poor." The kind of people most of us avoid. The unwanted and unloved, the starving, the destitute, the diseased. These are the people she felt called to feed and touch everyday. Truly she was the hands and feet of Jesus on earth. Such amazing beauty and unselfishness. She once saved the lives of 37 children as they were caught in a battle between the Israeli's and Palestinian's. This tiny, old, frail nun... actually negotiated a cease fire! Her father died when she was just 8 years old, she left home at 18 to join a convent and never again saw her mother or sister this side of Heaven. She had a comfortable teaching job in a convent, but she knew that wasn't the extent of her calling. She wouldn't be satisfied until she gave her dying breath meeting the needs of the "least of these." Listen to her words of wisdom. "I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love." She shared the day of her passing with Princess Diana. It always seemed to me that God was drawing a parallel for mankind to see. One person spent their life helping the needy because it was expected of her, while the others motive was love. 

So what is my point in sharing these excerpts concerning these quotable few? There is no denying their significance. They made an impact, not on a few, but on the world. They will not soon be forgotten, but what made them great? They were not noble, not in the least. They were not exceedingly wealthy nor handsome... but something they shared was that they had all suffered loss. They had suffered greatly. I'm not saying they picked themselves up by their bootstraps and moved on, no that's unfair to many who suffer and can't seem to rise back up. But they did not allow their heartache or miseries to define them, instead they plowed head first into life and began to live with excellence... excellence. It's very possible they would never have accomplished the things they had without those moments of  personal misery. I leave you with Helen Keller's quote.

"All the world is full of suffering. It is also full of overcoming."