a whole lot of garbage on Facebook, as you Facebook subscribers are
well aware. But hidden among all those annoying notices that somebody
has sent you a rutabaga and that somebody you barely know is
listening to a Barenaked Ladies tune at
this very minute,
there is an occasional gem.
found a gem on Saturday. It was a quote, in the form of a note. Here
got it all wrong. You didn’t come here to master unconditional
love. That is where you came from and where you’ll return. You
came here to learn personal love. Universal love. Messy love. Sweaty
love. Crazy love. Broken love. Whole love. Infused with divinity.
Lived through the grace of stumbling. Demonstrated through the beauty
of … messing up. Often.
didn’t come here to be perfect. You already are. You came here
to be gorgeously human. Flawed and fabulous. And then to rise again
I’m not even going to hazard a guess as to the doctrinal
soundness of this quote, but it certainly speaks to the human
condition. We human beings spend a lot of time spinning our wheels,
trying to love people unconditionally. What happens? Real life gets
in the way — that’s what happens!
are just a few instances where we try to love as Jesus loves, only to
find ourselves coming up short:
asked to love people who are as easy to love as sea urchins or cacti
— all prickly and full of thorns. Quite often the reason they
need us to love them is that they’ve pushed everyone else away.
asked to love at the most inconvenient times. It’s not just
during our favorite television program (those can be recorded and
watched later), but right before our hardest final exam or the day
our big project is due at work or the afternoon before we’re
putting on the Pursuit of Excellence program for the Young Women.
asked to go way, way out of our comfort zones. It’s easy to pop
a casserole in the oven, but people usually don’t need the
casserole. They need their laundry done or their floors mopped or
their seventeen children babysat on the same day your entire extended
family is flying in to celebrate Thanksgiving, or something else that
is not even remotely what we had in mind when we decided to show them
how much we care.
asked to love people without judging them or even (sometimes) without
offering them advice, even though they’re wearing neon signs on
their heads that say, “I’m messing up my whole life and I
don’t know why.” (Boy, are those signs hard to ignore!)
asked to love the people we home teach, even when they won’t
answer our phone calls or let us in the door.
asked to love total strangers who drop their problems at our feet and
say, “Fix me.”
asked to love people we can’t trust — people who make
promises they don’t keep, or who pilfer things from our homes
when they don’t think we’re looking, or who make up the
most creative little stories starring us (and who spread those
stories to anyone who will listen).
asked to love people who refuse to help themselves — who think
of themselves as victims and who expect everything to be handed to
them just because they don’t want to pick themselves up and do
their own work.
asked to love people who don’t look like we do, don’t
talk like we do, don’t vote like we do, and don’t even
pray to the same God we pray to.
asked to love people who have no intention of loving us in return,
and who would even harm us if they only had a chance to do so.
quote was right. We’re human. We can’t do all those
things — not even close. But we can try. Even when we fail this
time, there will be an opportunity tomorrow to love again. Maybe
tomorrow we’ll be better, or maybe we won’t.
as the quote says, we’ll be in a place where we can love
unconditionally, perfectly. Until then, what matters is that we pick
ourselves up and try again.