I like looking out the windows while trapped inside at work. Seeing the sun setting and knowing I will soon be both entering and leaving work in darkness... well, scenes like these are a comfort. They are a consolation prize that actually mean something to me.
Real thoughts after the jump...
I am often a non-emotional person. I struggle sometimes with love. I don't know when this progression happened, but I close my heart to good things. I remember in high school collapsing after a race, and even as my lungs screamed for air, I would hold my breath, forcing myself to begin breathing normally as soon as possible. To pant was a weakness. I realize now the pride buried under my forced respiration. Even if no one else in the world noticed my regulated breaths, I was in control.
Those who know me would say I am generally happy and easy going. I am not controlling or divisive. However, to OWN myself and my desire has, in many ways, meant killing my desire. No cookies? No problem. You were two hours late? I'm flexible. S/he doesn't like me? C'est la vie. No sex tonight? Ok.
I've thought often about what I'm trying to accomplish by amputating the feelings out of my life. At the very bottom of it, I hate the idea that I need something. That I am, in any way, dependent on something outside of myself. That by excising emotions, I am maintaining an ability to carry on a steady, unwavering life, relieved of disappointment. To not fully love something means I don't need it to survive. It means I'm not fussy, and can make do with very little. I am strong. I know things. I can take care of others. I can give up, if necessary, the things that should mean the very most to me. I can be happy and function in a Spartan landscape.
I do think it's possible to be happy and have a Spartan approach to loving and relishing. In many ways, you can be a rock for your family. You will rarely make stupid, emotional decisions, and you will progress in a very Vulcan way towards goals and aspirations.
I've admitted to David that sometimes I consider my love for him, and I fear. I fear I am opening myself to loss, to disappointment, to hurt, to rejection. The deeper I swim into his love, the less chance I have of finding my way up for air. As Regina Spektor so aptly put, "I never loved nobody fully/ always one foot on the ground/ and by protecting my heart truly/ I got lost in the sounds/ I hear in my mind". For a season, I thought maybe this was a part of loving, but I don't think so anymore. Children do love without fear. Some adults do to.
It's easy to get bitter when you love. People fail you. Jobs are unfullfilling. If you remain unattached, large portions of your life are just something you do. You can neatly absorb disappointment and inadequacy because 'It didn't really mean anything to me anyway'. For some it just is too hard to keep loving and hating and fighting for something that will always remain, despite your best efforts, ugly and broken.
Last night, David emerged out of the bedroom for the fifth time since he went to bed (I'm a night owl):
"I can't sleep. I don't know why. I just lay there."
"Maybe if I lay with you, you'll have some peace."
Snuggled up, and feeling the heat radiate off of him as he fell into sleep, I was reminded how sweet it is to love him, fully. This is a reminder that I need. He leads me in this way: it is not a weakness to admit we need each other.
But, how do we learn to love God? Isn't the whole point of willing, sacrificial obedience to say, "I love you more" to God? How can this be so if we don't recognize our need for him? If we don't savor his presence, miss his absence in our lives, and admit a genuine need for him?
We have to walk a line that is razor sharp. Will we fully, to the deepest extent that we can, enjoy the gifts that we have been given and grant them some power over us? (After all, isn't that what awards things a cost)? And, will we also be willing to give those things up to walk in obedience to Christ? How do you live as a stranger in a strange land, yet learn to let your heart break for people? How "for his sake do I suffer the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own", yet take what he has given me (family, a city I love), and live believing that "to whom much is given, much is expected." The scales are tricky: on one end, we idolize, and on the other we remain forever in the shallow waters, giving nothing but ourselves full weight and value. I'm not really sure how to close this up, except that this is something I've been thinking about, weighing out. How do you go about recognizing and feeling your need for God? I think the answer is learning to love Him more.
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