Two Steps To Love

And He said to him, “ ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ “This is the great and foremost commandment. “The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”

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This morning I laid in bed long after I had awakened, only climbing out to run an errand for my hubby… Feeling tired and raw after not really having slept during the night – purging myself of things I had held on to much to tightly for much to long, believing them to be truth… only to discover that it was simply a story I had told myself – to comfort myself – I needed the story, perhaps it is now a measure of growth, that I can now let it go….. I am choosing to allow that to be truth, in this moment.

It’s a funny thing about personal truth – it can be fluid. Like the beautiful wheat fields who were green last time I took this drive, just weeks ago.. But today, as I drove the back roads to my husbands office they are truly gold….. even in the 103 degree heat, I stop for just a moment to walk the fields. They call me home. I love the smell and in their presence. Tears stream down to the point that, my eyes so sore, even the touch of the Kleenex feels unbearable, letting go of something held so tightly is a painful thing, even when you discover it was never truly what you believed it to be. Off in the distance I see the first combines of the season, ready to change this field’s reality one more time.

As the heat beat down on me, and my sweat and tears fell…. I was reminded of the scripture that I read as lay unwilling to face my day…..Matthew 22:37-40 And He said to him, “ ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ “This is the great and foremost commandment. “The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ 

It rang in my head over and over….. The thoughts so loud, I wondered if someone was standing next to me saying the words I had read…… for just a second, I felt my heart stop as I heard the words….. “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.”  I wondered if I had stumbled on to some truth as to why the world was in the state it was in…. A truth of how I struggle to love others… doing it white knuckled… prepared for the worst.  Unwilling to open my heart completely opting to keep it wrapped in a barrier of protection.

Sadly, I had to admit, that I do love others the same way as I love myself…. and I know that it isn’t what this scripture meant. What it was asking me to do, is to love others the way I WANTED to experience love. But, in order to do that,  I knew that I would have to perfect the art of self love.

Now, back in the car headed to get lunch to the office by a specific time…. my head is ringing…. the headache I so often get after crying has set in….serving as a reminder that there are still things to let go of. With task at hand, I arrive and pass off the platters, share smiles and niceties to those there, before hitting the road again.

There have been many times when I have gathered up a friend who was stuck – hit the road while they purged hurts, anger, disappointment… hearts closed off…. We have screamed under train tresses as the train passes overhead, we have skinny dipped in cold lakes – a baptism of sorts. We have even released balloons into the air and shot plates into smithereens. We have sat on the coulees and jumped off the cliffs, and even just sat and cried for hours with little words shared between us. I have found myself in moments speaking the inevitable…..telling them what they already knew… that they needed to forgive, or let go, or storm the castle or……

Today it was just me.. with me. But, I knew what I needed to do. I needed to forgive…….myself. Forgive myself for holding on to something too tightly, something that, in truth, had stopped serving my best interest a long time ago.For the mistakes I made while in the lie. For allowing others to treat me poorly, and for not seeing my own beauty and talents. For being willing to play life small to accommodate others’ insecurities and fears. For allowing sickness a place to fester. For forgetting to laugh, and for letting others convince me that is was not okay for me to color outside the lines, and a million other things I wrote down as I sat along side of the road.

Life can be hard for those of us that feel deeply, and harder when we have loved and lost greatly… It makes it scary to love again… and again.. and again…. harder yet, to be willing to let love in….

But, I know that, as a daughter of God almighty, a Princess of the King of Kings…there are only two things I need to perfect… And they are this simple; Love God with everything I am , and to love others the way I want to be loved. The challenge of course is that the love that flows through me, starts with me loving me.

I cannot help but to wonder if the state of affairs we, here in the US, find ourselves in, is that we have failed to love ourselves enough, to let it (love) flow freely out of us out into the lives of others? Perhaps it is true, “What the word needs now, is love sweet love, no not just for some, but for everyone.” It has to start with me.

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