On my morning stroll, as I was pondering what to write here today, I stepped over a scripture from the ancient book of Colossians inscribed in the concrete: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as if working for God, not for men.” For its connotations to sink in a little more, I reworded it to myself: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as if working for Love (because God IS Love, after all), not for people (because I practice gender-inclusivity when it comes to seeking approval).” Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as if working for Love, not for people.
I immediately questioned myself: what does “working for Love” look like? Depending on your line of work, the manifestations will be different. My chief employment at age 40 is being the primary caretaker for three children, and when it comes to “working for Love” as a parent, that’s a long complex answer I’ll dissect another day. But then there’s my secondary line of work, in which I fancy myself a writer. So, in regards to that pursuit, my answer was immediately: write about LOVE.
Sounds simple enough. But…uhhhh…notsomuch. To write genuinely and effectively about Love – to write about Love in a way that swells hearts and stirs up spirits – one has to believe in it. Like, really BELIEVE. Believe that I, the one pontificating about Love, am worthy of it. I have to believe I MYSELF am Loved. I have to KNOW IT TO BE TRUE. How can I possibly expound on how to Love if I cannot practice it in regards to myself and others? How can I encourage others to extend Love, if I am unable to extend Love to myself and my neighbors?
Thanks to a prompt by my seventh grade English teacher, I’ve been journaling for almost thirty years. I perused a few old entries yesterday and quickly regretted it. Reading old journals is (mostly) depressing. A lot of those transcriptions came from a place of feeling unloved, unseen, unheard, unworthy. Jealousy, resentment and anger – side effects of AN ABSENCE OF LOVE towards myself – vibe out from the page. Cathartic at the time, but unenjoyable to read later. I can hear it in OTHER people’s words too, especially on blogs and various online commentary; what is meant as some sort of inspiration sounds more like a cloaked rant. But many of the writers and poets who instill hope seem to create from a place of quiet confidence and deep self-worth. They are in an ongoing process of attempting to practice forgiveness. They are learning to believe they are Loved.
Thus the question to myself as I walked on around the track was…do you truly believe you are LOVED, even with your bungled-up inner self? Because you can’t work for LOVE unless you believe in it…unless you believe that that you ARE Loved, flaws and all. You can’t effectively promote your product unless you believe in its life-changing power.
I don’t like asking myself that question. First of all…CORNY. I’m having discomfiting visions of Stuart Smalley. Secondly…if you can get past the corny and actually answer the question, do you have the guts to be honest in your answer? And do you have the further-needed guts to examine it?
Have you ever tried to evaluate where a streak of envy, indignation or rage stems from? I haven’t figured out where ALL those sorts of feelings originate for me, but I HAVE learned enough to know that they usually show up because I feel LESS THAN. In case you hadn’t noticed, humans do foolish, vacuous, dull-witted things, present company included (and boy, do I have some doozies). While others’ blunders can be hurtful, confusing, and occasionally a legitimate reason for lessening my trust in a person, most often the events-in-question are just a case of people being people. It’s the way of the world. Someone shuns/ignores/disrespects/curses/criticizes, and hurt ensues. I can’t control his/her actions. But I CAN examine why I feel hurt, why feelings of defensiveness, jealousy or anger arise. The conclusion at which I usually arrive – if I’m brave enough to follow the feeling and see where it leads – is that I don’t feel good enough as I am, and so, I receive slights from others as an indicator that I am indeed not good enough. I don’t feel like a happy/creative/organized enough mother…so, when a happy/creative/organized mother (or – heavens to Murgatroyd – the occasional mother who is ALL THREE) whirls through my life, I get irritated. Because, essentially, I am insecure in my worth. I don’t yet fully believe in the Love I say I’m working for. I don’t yet know it to be true…for ME.
Maybe you do truly know Love and believe it to be yours, but feel weird or guilty-ish admitting it out loud. Please. Go with it. And start sharing your tricks with the rest of us 🙂 My guess is a lot of us DON’T. Then what? How do we transition from a place of self-loathing to a place of beLovedness? How do we come to believe that God – LOVE – is genuinely FOR us and trying to inscribe that truth on our very souls? I WANT to know…for myself, for the three kiddos I care for…so I can parent/write/tapdance in the name of Love…so I can genuinely work for Love.
I’m on a mission to find out. Don’t be surprised if you hear about me meeting up with the Dalai Lama for a glass of tapwater at Chili’s. In the meantime…we’re good enough, we’re smart enough, and doggonit, we are Loved.