Love enters the mystery Part II
Last week, I wrote about "the more" for which so many people are longing.
This longing for "more" is often first presented as a need for clarity and/or understanding of how life/faith/love works. Four out of five people I meet with are trying to "figure it out." When I explore what the "it" is with them, the result they think they want is a formula/plan that "works." It's clear that "it" isn't working, but there's not much clarity about what would be different if "it" did work. When pressed further, my fellow hungry pilgrims speak of wanting a pathway to more balance, fulfillment, satisfaction and significance. Yet, we linger longer and discover another layer lurks beneath even these very good things: what most are longing for is connection, belonging, and becoming fully alive from being noticed, treasured, welcomed, loved and valued.
Though many, initially, are hoping for a formula (a magic pill spiritual practice or scripture), after a little playful interrogation, such as only an impish Spiritual Director or a comedic talk show host can do, the soul discovers that they actually haven't "figured out" much of their life to date...at least not the "important" stuff.
Me: "So, how long you been married?"
Hungry Soul: "Celebrating 25 years later this year."
Me: "Congrats - that's amazing. Let me ask you - after 25 years, do you have marriage figured out?'
After a burst of laughter and a shake of the head some version of "Hell no" comes out.
Me: "And, you've spoken some about your kids. I'm just curious, would you say that you have parenting figured out?"
Another burst of laughter and another wag of the head with a smirk of the eyebrows and a little disdainful look in my direction.
Me: "So.... what makes you think that life (love, a relationship with God, etc) is something to be figured out?"
Hungry Soul: "I haven't the faintest idea...I just know there's more and I haven't found it yet."
Me: "Maybe the more isn't an "it." Maybe it's a relationship - which is messy and mysterious and beckons with an invitation for belonging.
Hungry Soul: "Yes, yes. I so very much want that. I want that."
Clearly, the "more" that Jesus invites us to consider and live is not a formula...though for some strange reason Christendom often reduces Jesus' sayings to teach it as such. The more is summed up in a word: love - let yourself be loved by God, love yourself well so you can love your neighbor well. But love is mystery and love is paradox...so simple, yet so complex. Love is both brilliantly messy and mysteriously breathtaking. God's love unravels our souls while simultaneously holding us together. When the hunger for more is no longer satisfied by formulas and rituals, programs and rote prayers, the pilgrim is ready to embark into the deep, deep mystery of love...and it is the only place where transformation can take place because only love transforms because love unites.
- What are you striving to "figure out"?
- In what ways do you see love uniting you to God? yourself? others? nature?
- If you could write out your longing for more, what would it say?