Tuesday, January 20, 2015

jubelruf rahamin

“Need-love says of a woman “I cannot live without her”; Gift-love longs to give her happiness, comfort, protection – if possible, wealth; Appreciative love gazes and holds its breath and is silent, rejoices that such a wonder should exist even if not for him, will not be wholly dejected by losing her, would rather have it so than never to have seen her at all."
--The Four Loves, C.S. Lewis

Whenever I encounter the stunning revelation of being understood; of having a friend write words to you that mirror your soul to itself, I am awed.
How bittersweet it is, wrote my friend, that I am engaged in work that I fail at daily.
Oh, friend, Amen. I thought.
[Had she read my diary? I wondered.]
I am living day-to-day, performing tasks I am not necessarily good at; these are not tasks I was trained for, I was not prepared for these. I can not dazzle and dart and coast through the day. The tasks at hand seem to demand a deeper sort of care and attention, and I find that as they require my own vulnerability, I am vulnerable to them.
I am not naturally a disciplinarian, a Microsoft Excel guru, or a manager and instructor of thirty students at once. I do not like being the "mean teacher" or trying to parse between lies and truth, and attempting to force a student who does not want to sit down and read to do so.
In many ways, when found in a situation in life where my talents do not aid me, I want to flee. Flee to a comfort zone, where I can rely on my own abilities, intelligence, and feel secure in my ability to achieve.
But I cannot begin to speak of the immeasurable joy that being awful sometimes at my job has brought me.
No longer am I in school, on stage, or in an environment where I am comfortable and at ease, relying on my own powers to pull me through the day.
Instead, I find myself on most days questioning my judgment, my ability, my success. I find myself unsure of whether I am doing what I ought; when all I see is how I can improve. When all I hear is my voice ringing unsurely in my ears, or how I am still hesitant and lacking in confidence and authority, it is hard to muster up the usual self-confidence.
In every day interactions, the constant affirmation that I crave is lacking.
It is not wrong to seek the affirmation of others; it is not evil or bad to yearn for people to single you out for being not anything other than yourself and beautiful because of it.
But these cannot be our need, from which we derive our sense of self-worth.
How much sweeter are these accolades when we can see them for what they truly are: a gift born of another's generosity and kindness. They are not compliments we are owed. We are not to live as though expecting every moment for our co-worker or supervisor to tap us on the shoulder and say how they bask in the light of our incredible aptitude. When we can see these affirmations (when they arrive) as a blessing given from the loving heart of another, then we can cherish them more deeply and instead of twisting them into the supports for our own fragile ego. We can accept them sweetly, and offer them again in return.

Only one love, Christ tells our frantic Martha, is needful. Only one.
In a world with so many needs and wants, it is hard for us to stay so focused on the one thing that is needful, and to accept all else that happens as a trial to be borne, which will reap, at the journey's end (if we weather it with fortitude), a gift for our weary souls; or else an obvious blessing to be received so joyfully and without thought to grasp.
Only one constant and steady thirst for love can possibly hope to be satisfied and to satisfy.
And perhaps the singular joy of failing in your own abilities is that you can finally see clearly that thirsting love offering the shaky structure of your self the support it so obviously needs.

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