Saturday, November 19, 2011

Milk - Potty - Finished

I sat down recently with one of the couples that are planning to get married this coming year and have asked me to be the pastor.  I am always honored to be a part of such a wonderful occasion.  I especially look forward to and enjoy the process of meeting and getting to know the couple before the ceremony.  It can be a very special time for them as well as I encourage and, in some cases, teach new ways of communication.  It is a time to be challenged and encouraged.  It is an added benefit if we are friends before they even asked me to marry them.  Sometimes I even cry just a little during the ceremony!

The young lady said something that has been resonating in my soul for a while now.  She said that sometimes she feels he does not love her as much as he used to; and then without skipping a beat she said, “But perhaps that’s really just me not loving myself at that moment and not understanding why someone would still love me”.  What an incredible epiphany. 

Loving ourselves is perhaps one of the hardest loves to experience.  We see and feel so many flaws and errors and it is not unusual to expect that we would project that on to others – resulting in a doubt.  Of course the man in the relationship quickly said he has not stopped loving her or declined in his love for her but still it is a true feeling and I encouraged him to recognize it as a feeling and then to talk it out.  Feelings are often hard to put in to words and too many times we find ourselves choosing the wrong words to describe how we feel – it is only through conversation and patience that we can possibly develop the correct and accurate language for our feelings at any given time.  The human language is just too limiting.

My former brother-in-law and his wife had a marvelous way of raising their young daughter.  Their first child hardly fussed at the dinner table.  Although she could hear well they decided to teach her sign language right away. They knew that children know what they want but they don’t exactly have the software installed yet that allows them to articulate it using their new-found lips and tongue.  Instead of fussing and crying because she wants milk, and instead of having mom and dad get frustrated and at the end of their rope trying to figure out why their child is fussing – my niece would simply use the sign for milk and all would be well.  The same for ‘potty’, ‘sleep’, and ‘finished’.  Finding the right combination of words to describe what we want and what we are feeling is difficult and often leads to misunderstandings, arguments, resentments, and feeling unloved.

We often think that God would not possibly love us because we cannot love ourselves.  If WE see all that is wrong with us certainly God does, right?  So how could he possibly love us if He knows the truth about us?  We can hide it from others but not from ourselves and not from God.  And when we do seek Him and try to share what we are feeling we lack the words and we feel like we fall short of reaching Him.  The same with our human relationships:  We simply fail at communicating, accurately, the way we are feeling and we often times let our mouths get us in to more trouble!

This young lady was able to discover that perhaps what she initially perceived as a lack of love from someone was actually her lack of love and respect for herself, projected on to someone else, and reflected back to us all distorted.

Thank God that we can communicate with the Holy in ways other than words.  Sometimes it is music, or the words of some other inspired individual through books or prayers or scriptures.  Sometimes it is through actions like helping others or maybe just taking a few moments to breathe deep and look around you.  These seemingly simple actions, like the simplicity of the sign language for milk, or potty, or finished, are sometimes all we need to get our message across.  Sometimes we just try too hard when the answer is actually pretty simple.

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