We cause love to decrease by not admitting our own imperfections.
I do not believe in coincidence.
As you may have read in my last post, I’ve been struggling within myself, fighting to remember that love is freely given, not something to work hard for. Writing that post was difficult. Sharing it was even more so. But something compelled me.
This past week has been humbling. Some family friends have been in the process of moving from a large, beautiful house here in Georgia to a smaller apartment on the beach several hours away. By choice they are downsizing, and they decided that I and mine should benefit. When we left Abu Dhabi, we brought little more than our clothes. Up until this past week we had no furniture for a house of our own. Now, we have nearly a houseful. These friends have asked for nothing in return. But this is not their greatest gift to me.
The wife of this sweet couple (I’ll call her Emma) is very much disabled, the result of a terrible accident when she was young. She has some use of her hands but that is all. In spite of all she’s endured, she shines. I have always admired her positivity from afar, but never got to spend much time around her. After this week, I’m convinced that Emma is the strongest, purest person I’ve ever known.
I love being around Emma because she, more than any able-bodied person I know, is at peace within herself. She knows what she can and can not do. There is no pretense. No attempt to impress. Only an open heart. There is something in Emma that calls to the goodness in others. Her weakness invites others to strength and humility at the same time. When she asks for help, there is a sense of privilege in being asked. I have been honored to be around her.
My own pride would never let me accept the love of others with so much grace as Emma displays. As I said, I do not believe in coincidence. In the same week that I have struggled so hard with accepting my own faults, I have been given, like a punch in the gut, the gift of time with Emma—a lesson in this paradox of pride. Do you see it? I have a choice between fully facing my own vulnerability, inadequacies, imperfections and loving well, or being impressive but keeping others at a distance.
If Emma’s needs and inabilities increase love in those around her, then by default that means that I cause love to decrease by not admitting my own imperfections. Is that what I want? No. So here goes…
I do need. I do not have my shit together. I often struggle to think the best of others and, most of all, myself. I am undisciplined, disorganized, and self-centered. I doubt the goodness of God and find it all too easy to fix my attentions on things beyond my control. I need help, those that love me, to keep me from imprisoning myself in attempted perfection.
I have a choice between fully facing my own vulnerability, inadequacies, imperfections and loving well, or being impressive but keeping others at a distance.
There is no way to become whole without first being broken. It is scary, being so open and exposed. But healing is here. Though it may crush me, I will choose love.
What about you? What do you need? Where can you break so that love might grow?