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The Work Of Love

I do the work of Love. It’s wonderful and awful, life-giving and sacrifice. And during the hard times, when I can’t stand myself, knowing You love me, Lord, and remembering the times I’ve felt Your love, make the desolation bearable enough that I can hold on until my heart is made anew.

The path is not easy. It’s messy, complex, nuanced, layered, and complicated- because Love is about relationship, and relationships are hard. There’s just no getting around it- loving any other one person, let alone many, is hard, hard work. We hurt one another in so many ways, and the task of Love is to be able to sit with the hurt together until the hurt heals – rather than deny, avoid, suppress, distract, and lash out as protective walls covered with resentment are built and wounds fester.

Even knowing all this, I still hurt the people I love in big and little ways – not wanting or intending to… and yet my own needs for love and fulfillment found only in answering Your call, Lord, lead me on a path completely my own – both treacherous and safe.

So, I know how hard it is to say yes to You, and to continue to say yes in the midst of all the levels of uncertainty and through all the layers of discernment. I can’t think or see my way through the darkness. Instead, it’s an instinctual movement to the next step. And I can’t even take the step with a judgment of right or wrong, it’s simply the next step You’ve asked me to take on the journey, the next step on my narrow path home to You.

We often judge what will be as if we’re perfect, then look back and see how grace and mercy held us in our imperfect humanity.

It’s not about perfection (although how I wish I were perfect!), it’s about participation, which is hard when there’s lots of failure and imperfection and pain when I actively engage in the fullness of life. My expectations of the world and myself fall short again, and again, and again. Still, in the midst of all of it, You tell me I am Beloved.

How can it be?

And yet, with each breath I take, You say it is so.

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