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Transformation: The Love Habit Login/Join
 
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Brad's quote:

If I am actually angry at someone and think they're a S.O.B. but I stick on a tight fitting "loving mask", it's easy to get screwed up that way and for one's "love, period" to not be a particularly healthy form of love.
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Brad, you are describing what love it not. Love cannot be feigned into "love, period". In the above quote there is an absence of love and the pretense of wearing a mask is false love.

Then what is love, period. It is God expressing in and through you love for you and/or another. When it is reciprocated it again is God's love expressing in and through another for you, the beloved, and for the lover. We are incapable of knowing love nor understanding this love without our awareness that love is God. Without His mystery of love we would be like animals everyone for themselves in a jungle filled with needs and desires taking whatever we please.

It is one of the greatest gifts to have God expressing love within us. One cannot describe this invisible ecstasy to another unless they are blessed to experience the same. God's presence of love when alive in us is knowing, being, giving, receiving, sharing and flowing in the joy of God's presence for ourselves and others. It is then when we are in the awareness that love is what we are and come from. There is no true words to describe this sacrament of God's love. There is no pretending, no acting, just a state of being pure joy within your heart vibrating and expanding in the freedom of Him.

Another quote from Brad:

Perhaps it's no wonder that only very serious events (like fatal or near-fatal injuries or illnesses) can bring people together and break the wall of emotional separation.
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This is a paradox Brad, and not always true. I have found that families that are bonded are usually the ones rushing to each others sides during these tragedies that can befall families. Where there is discord and lack of family love nor bonding, illnesses and death can separate families even further apart than they were before, and even in bonded families the stress of long illnesses like cancer, Alzheimer's disease, etc. can cause separations within stable families. There is no guarantee at any given time as to how people will react in stressful situations.

We are covering much territory. I enjoy all of our sharing and giving and love you all, period.


Smiler Smiler
 
Posts: 571 | Location: Oregon | Registered: 20 June 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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If I am actually angry at someone and think they're a S.O.B. but I stick on a tight fitting "loving mask", it's easy to get screwed up that way and for one's "love, period" to not be a particularly healthy form of love.
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Brad, you are describing what love it not. Love cannot be feigned into "love, period". In the above quote there is an absence of love and the pretense of wearing a mask is false love.


Well, it�s a complex issue, Freebird. I�ll even disagree with what I said above because I think sometimes screwing on a loving mask is an act of love. We can�t just all wait around for the grips of ecstatic love to come and grip us. We need to take positive steps ourselves and sometimes those steps involve a rather forced and artificial movement toward love and away from wherever we may be at the moment. I think we need to set our wills like we would a mainsail on a ship so that we may catch the wind and move forward. But I find it helpful to remember that I�m imperfect and that to expect a glowing all-encompassing love out of me all the time is not realistic. It might be something I want to shoot for, but I�m not going to beat myself up if I fall short. I think my point is not to be demanding in regards to love. That would sort of be defeating the purpose in my opinion.
 
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Brad, I like your response to my post Smiler
Our resident Philosopher ain't no scardy cat, I remembered Smiler

Just be yourself, wild and free. If love happens, it happens, especially when you least expect it. Smiler

Only have a few minutes right now, but will return for our further discussions on the mysteries of life, its joys and trials. Have a great day Smiler
 
Posts: 571 | Location: Oregon | Registered: 20 June 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Freebird wrote:

"I still believe that sending her a card now and than to tell her of your love and that you are thinking of her may open a door for both of you. It is worth a try."

Hi Freebird,

I want you to know I heard your suggestion. The first time I felt stunned, dumfounded for about ten minutes. The second time, tears flowed.

The idea is not a strange one. It is one I have considered myself, and in the past, acted on.

I also notice that Brad responded to your suggestion. I thought what he said was true to my experience. In the debate between the two of you on this topic, Brad wins on the basis of speaking to me on multiple levels and relating well to what I know about God's will from Jesus in the area of relating to one's parents.

When his mother thought he was crazy and wanted to take control of the situation to protect him, Jesus asked a great question: Who is my mother?

Whoever follows God in the path of love. Freebird, you are my mother. Brad is my mother too. Or maybe brother. My supervisor at work who asked for forgiveness is my mother.

I've made a decision, for now, I'm not sending the woman who raised me a note. God loves her, but just now, I'm not feeling it.

Love,
 
Posts: 455 | Location: Baltimore | Registered: 23 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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My dear Ryan,

I support you 100% about not sending a card to the woman, your mother, who raised you. My suggestion to send her a card was based on your original post describing the situation with your mother and the pain and unresolvement you were still feeling.

Papa Brad gave you good sound advice which complimented mine, even though he may not admit this.

From my situation with my son there is no communication of any kind. No phone calls, cards nor letters. Sometimes this is what we must do and it is a great gift of love to both mother and son, which is applicable to your situation as well. We deserve to be treated with love, honor, dignity and respect.

Your life is with your wife and this is your family now that must come first. I also for the last ten years am leading a life for myself, a life of joy and peace.

Yes, I am a mother of love. A client of mine who is part Cherokee Indian told me a beautiful belief among the Cherokee Indians. Every woman is a mother to a child. When a child goes out to play, all the women in the neighborhood are Mom to this child. I myself am a substitute mother to one of my friend's son. He has a birth mother, step-mother and me. He feels most comfortable sharing his problems and joys with me.

I am overjoyed Ryan to be one of your mothers and wish I could hug you close to my heart and bless you.

You are led by God and Jesus, so stay true to this path of happieness for you.

Papa Brad, your intelligence surpassed my wisdom and loving heart this time, and I can honor that. Smiler
 
Posts: 571 | Location: Oregon | Registered: 20 June 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Papa Brad

Sister (or mother) Brad is okay as well. I'm comfortable enough in my sexuality. Big Grin
 
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Papa Brad, your intelligence surpassed my wisdom and loving heart this time, and I can honor that.

Thanks, Freebird. But actually I thought you had the best answer: send a card. Or let me amend that. The best answer might be to write a card � and then do nothing, and then just to burn the card. It�s an old "trick" but still a good one.

What is needed is healing, and that may or may not include a reconciliation � or reconciliation could be on the tale end of this process of healing, perhaps years or decades in the future. One need not think of reconciliation as the next step through which all other steps must go through first. Sometimes attempts at reconciliation are just going to make things seem even more hopeless. There is like much healing that can be done, and there are very likely much nearer things to be reconciled with, such as our own true self. Start there. And that�s where it can come in handy to write things down on a piece of paper. We need to express some things that perhaps were never before considered safe to express, and certainly were, and perhaps still are, considered quite wrong and shameful to express. But it�s likely we can never be reconciled with others until we reconcile with those alienated parts of ourselves. And the only way I know for that reconciliation to happen is, first of all, for us to want it to happen and, second of all, to be willing to face a lot of uncomfortable feelings and thoughts without judging them as "good" or "bad".

To judge these things harshly is to further strengthen someone else�s "mindset" which likely got grafted onto our own mindset, if it didn�t outright replace it some time back. Part of that process of reconciliation is not rejection of these parts, for in my opinion we can never heal ourselves by simply thinking we need to cut our certain parts. Rather, I think we can only heal by what we add back in. And our true selves, our true thoughts, and our true feelings, because we have often become alienated to them to some extent, are things that we can add back in. But that�s nearly impossible to make happen if that little voice that is constantly judging things is allowed to hold sway over us. That little voice is probably not our moral barometer. If it was, then we, of course, should probably listen to it. But if it�s merely someone else�s moral barometer, particularly a barometer that was implanted merely so that someone else could control us, then it�s time to turn off the "judgment engine" so that we can expose this fraudulent implant for what it is. And that takes courage, believe me. That takes being able to live with a pretty good hunk of guilt from time to time.

And third, and perhaps most importantly, we have to do what Einstein said, and it�s something that St. Paul might agree with: Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them. And that means praying. That means taking those problems to Someone and just letting them be held there, not necessarily asking that the world change to suit us, but that perhaps we be changed and brought into better alignment with the way things should be. And I don�t know of any other or better way to say this, but we must also let go of our hard edge. And those hard edges are everywhere. They show up in our judgmentalism, our perfectionism, our criticism (especially self-criticism), and in a hundred others ways. It shows up mostly when we encounter something in life and our first instinct is to try to induce or force some change in the outer world with the mindset that it is then that our lives can be right, can flow freely, and will be free of obstacles. And that can indeed work for a while. Heck, entire empires can be built if circumstances are such that one�s personal power and obstinance can get others to do our bidding. But it�s an orientation that ultimately devours all, including us. So it�s best to find ways to live our lives without those hard edges. And it is indeed those hard edges that show us when and where we are stuck.

Writing a card, even if you throw it into the fire, can soften some edges.
 
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Yes, writing a card and throwing it into the fire is good sound advice. I have thrown many cards into the flames, to former lovers, family members and friends. I never regretted doing so, and did receive an inner peace instead.

I awoke this morning with the joy of realizing all is okay and well. Things are exactly how they should be in my life and I need no movement toward one direction nor the other to find anything at all. To be in the moment right here right now is an incredible aliveness in knowing that the world and humanity are in the hands of God, and in this awareness is my peace. How often do we wish for something, and having received same find how much happier we were before this desire of ours became manifest.

Last night I medidated on my capabilities as a mother. How many of us before becoming parents do not realize the great responsibility we have in bringing a child or children into this world. I became aware that for many parents this subject of responsibilities, teachings of a child, money required in raising a child to adulthood, unselfish giving and caring, instilling love, guidance, and a spiritual foundation is not top priority as it should be. Also what makes many individuals think that they could be instrumental parents to their children when they themselves often come from dysfunctional homes where they had no role modelling by their own parents. I found that most of humanity needs to grow in this awareness of what is required to bring forth a child. For 95% of the world population to get pregnant is one of the easiest things to do, and to be true loving parents with parenting skills is the hardest.

Ryan made me think about these interactions, expectations, joys and disappointments we all experience in our relationships with parents and children. Mom is our first caregiver and lover. We have an unconsious part of ourselves that carries the picture of the loving Madonna and her Son. This picture is imprinted in our hearts and minds and is a love that we all yearn for and hold so very dear, and seems to be such an unreality with our own birth mothers. Because of the majority of humanity lacking this love between birth mother and child, has God in His love and graces given us the opportunity to find such a love in a marriage partner. I believe that this is true. How healing a partnership between a husband and wife in the intimacy of being a couple can be. Often the wife can be also the loving mother to her own husband reciprocated by the same loving mother found in the husband. After all we are multi-dimensional parts within ourselves. Like Brad mentioned, it is okay to be mother, father, sister and brother to one another and still feel safe and secure within one's own sexuality. When we think of the mystery of Christ's love for us, we realize that in the union of husband and wife all of the parts of ourselves are healing together within the body of Christ. I have heard men say that with my wife I have been truly born again. So the sacraments of love given to us within a true marriage can be the greatest blessing we could ever receive right here on earth. You mays ask why am I interlacing marriage together with being a good mother or a parent, because my thoughts are reflecting on these tremendous pains within the relationships experienced by children and their parents. The world would be a much happier place if more qualified married couples have children for the right reasons, and other couples would realize the healing powers of their marriage relationships meant to be shared together without the expected children to be brought into this union. Hopefully humanity will come to a full realization of the heavenly gifts given to a married couple, which does not need the fullfillment of having children.

How much happier my own parents would have been without having three children. They had met in the hospital, my mother was a nurse and my father, a patient. Why did they not follow this joy and dream found within their merger, without having children.

So was I capable of being a good mother. One son turned out extremely well, the other son is still finding himself. I did not have skills being a mother and learned along the way. I do love them, but love is not enough.
 
Posts: 571 | Location: Oregon | Registered: 20 June 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Wow, what amazing reflections, Freebird. Truly awesome. I particularly liked:

quote:
I have heard men say that with my wife I have been truly born again. So the sacraments of love given to us within a true marriage can be the greatest blessing we could ever receive right here on earth. You mays ask why am I interlacing marriage together with being a good mother or a parent, because my thoughts are reflecting on these tremendous pains within the relationships experienced by children and their parents. The world would be a much happier place if more qualified married couples have children for the right reasons, and other couples would realize the healing powers of their marriage relationships meant to be shared together without the expected children to be brought into this union. Hopefully humanity will come to a full realization of the heavenly gifts given to a married couple, which does not need the fullfillment of having children.
Granted, I realize I�ve always been more in love with the idea of love (more Merton stuff forthcoming soon!) but I do feel a tremendous hole from not having that "sacrament" of marriage and/or children. We might indeed find certain gifts and advantages from the trials of being somewhat alone, but I would never want to glorify that state. But thankfully what many, if not most, single people find (and surely there are more than a few nuns who might agree), that we can and do quickly collect and attract whole flocks of children around us whom we can nurture, and the person who was never a parent can thus be a quite a parent to so many, no matter the child�s age. And those who have had trouble parenting, or who have had trouble being a child, can bring those healing and hard-won lessons to others, even if they aren�t our own parents or our own children. And thus it all balances out. It more than balances out.

And isn�t nature clever? If we waited until we were ready and mature enough to have children, the human race would quickly die out. No kidding.
 
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I thought the following was an interesting thought by Merton. By reading it I certainly had a few of those "chagrin" moments, moments of the recognition of my own misunderstand and misuses of love. I think Thomas really digs through some subtle and complex nuances, and it�s therefore probably that he must have made all this mistakes himself � probably many times.

From No Man is an Island:

quote:
�Love seeks its whole good in the good of the beloved, and to divide that good would be to diminish love. Such a division would not only weaken the action of love, but in doing so would also diminish its joy. For love does not seek a joy that follows from its effect: its joy is in the effect itself, which is the good of the beloved. Consequently, if my love be pure I do not even have to seek for myself the satisfaction of loving. Love seeks one thing only: the good of the one loved. It leaves all the other secondary effects to take care of themselves. Love, therefore, is its own reward.

To love another is to will what is really good for him. Such love must be based on truth. A love that sees no distinction between good and evil, but loves blindly merely for the sake of living, is hatred, rather than love. To love blindly is to love selfishly, because the goal of such love is not the real advantage of the beloved but only the exercise of love in our own souls. Such love cannot seem to be love unless it pretends to seek the good of the one loved. But since it actually cares nothing for the truth, and never considers that it may go astray, it proves itself to be selfish. It does not seek the true advantage of the beloved or even our own. It is not interested in the truth, but only in itself. It proclaims itself content with an apparent good: which is the exercise of love for its own sake, without any consideration of the good or bad effects of loving.

�The step to unselfish love is the recognition that our love may be deluded. We must first of all purify our love by renouncing the pleasure of loving as an end in itself. As long as pleasure is our end, we will be dishonest with ourselves and with those we love. We will not seek their good, but our own pleasure.
 
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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A triple Wow is in order for Brad's quote within Merton's first paragraph. Smiler It just fills me with the most delicious joy imaginable reading a much cherished truth.
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quote: 2nd paragraph
A love that sees no distinction between good and evil but loves blindly merely for the sake of living, is hatred, rather than love.
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This pretty much describes lust to me and/or a person that may never have had the experience of love awaken within themselves and/or never has received true love from another. The use of the word hatred here is quite a powerful emotion to use in a situation where someone may be blinded in their ignorance, yet within themselves feel that what they are experiencing is love and not lust, thereby deceiving themselves and the one they proclaim to love. So within ignorance "hate" is like a double edged sword for the person is unaware of being within the darkness. Lust and selfish love, of course, always seeks its own and are solely dependent upon the love object for all their feelings of being alive, to the point that being away from their love object they pretty much feel a death and are incapable of functioning. They shun the truth of their relationship with another and will go to all lengths to maintain a lie.

quote:
...The step to unselfish love is the recognition that our love may be deluded.
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A person who is within a true love relationship can experience joy and have a life apart from the beloved. Such a person experiences no fear for he/she rejoices in all truth knowing that God is love, and that is what lives within the lover of the beloved. Love involves unselfish acts and as mentioned always seeks the good in the beloved, which is its greatest treasure.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 sums up the common traits and variances of love and lust.

Another distinction one can make between love and lust is that love always forgives, sometimes it does suffer for a length of time, when a separation with a beloved has occurred, but it will surrender the love as an offering to God, and will be able to carry on to maybe love again some day, God willing.
 
Posts: 571 | Location: Oregon | Registered: 20 June 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Brad, am thrilled that you loved my reflections!.
I thank you with all my heart. Smiler Smiler Smiler
Bet you thought I forgot!.
 
Posts: 571 | Location: Oregon | Registered: 20 June 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The use of the word hatred here is quite a powerful emotion to use in a situation where someone may be blinded in their ignorance, yet within themselves feel that what they are experiencing is love and not lust, thereby deceiving themselves and the one they proclaim to love.

I agree that the use of the word "hate" is strongly worded, Freebird. If I didn�t know better I�d say ol� Thomas was being a bit of a provocateur. Wink And yet I think what we (and he) is trying to get to the root of is what is love and what isn�t. I must confess that after reading some of Merton�s thoughts that my conception of love has changed for the better. A few illusions were burst but they needed to be burst. One could say that the whole subject of morality, about good and evil, is centered around the fact that evil and unloving acts are mostly (perhaps always) considered by a person to be good or loving acts. As I like to say, the Nazis didn�t consider themselves to be evil. They considered what they were doing to be very very good. People who fly airplanes into buildings don�t consider themselves to be evil. They consider themselves to be the holiest of the holy.

So if our desire is really to be good, to truly improve ourselves, then we will not fear taking stock of our beliefs. And I�ve taken stock of a couple of my beliefs regarding love and found them to be severely wanting. And guess what? I�m still alive. I�m still okay. No pieces of my body broke off and fell to the ground. In fact, I feel more whole, more complete, and more substantial. Oh, the energy we use to try to prop up notions that are false, that need to be expunged.

But I�m going to have to think about Merton�s ideas of true love. I�m going to want to re-read that section in the book a couple more times. We all like to think that love is such a self-evident thing (at least I like to think so). We assume, of course, that our love is good and true if we�re helping someone, if we�re getting those warm fuzzy feelings of love. And, of course, helping someone in the way we are helping them could be quite loving�or not. And, of course, getting those warm fuzzy feelings could be indeed a sign that we are in the grip of true and unselfish love�or not. Love is looking more and more like something that requires some thought, even some discipline. I surely am not the only one in the world who has thought love was simply my intention to satisfy some internal desire to be loving. But that can be quite selfish. That can actually do harm to people.

I�ll see if some more good quotes pop out from that chapter that I�m reading. If so, I�ll post them.
 
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Once we see beyond the illusions of the physical form in our attraction to another person, what we really fall in love with is what we perceive is a "beautiful mind", a flowing consciousness that touches our spirit and embraces our hearts. A true love relationship has this merger of the minds as one joined together within their hearts. This realization is hid and veiled, but it is the truth about true love. All feelings and emotions we experience have a beginning within our minds.

In the beginning of an attraction what is so inspiring is the belief that we have found another that compliments our awareness within our own minds. Any thought expressed by a beloved enraptures our souls. It is like a sip of wine that intoxicates our senses and we can hardly contain ourselves from drinking more of this blissful state of being. Oh, the ecstasy of walking hand in hand sharing our thoughts and beliefs with another, and having the other absolutely enthralled by every word spoken by us.

Take a look at relationships that end with such disappointments when we find that the other was not at all what we believed them to be. What happens is that one or the other has broken away from the sacred union of being one mind together. When this unfortunate state occurs another love affair has come to an end.

With maturity has come the realization that it is not opposites that end up living happily hereafter, but like attracting like within their minds and consciousness joined together by the fires of this knowledge and understanding.

A true love relationship is like a circle that flows in intelligence, love and wisdom, each person having these same components within themselves and therefore complimenting each other in every way. It never serves a man to marry a woman who is not such an equal to him. Oh, the treasures they can create in this merger together. Smiler
 
Posts: 571 | Location: Oregon | Registered: 20 June 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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A lifetime without Love is of no account
Love is the Water of Life
Drink it down with heart and soul!.
Divan-i-Shams 1190
 
Posts: 571 | Location: Oregon | Registered: 20 June 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Freebird wrote:

"I support you 100% about not sending a card to the woman, your mother, who raised you."

Dear Freebird,

Your support means a lot. For the past couple of days, as I recalled your letter, in my mind, the letter seemed to shine with a loving light.

Lately, I've been enjoying my marriage.

Yesterday you wrote:

"It is like a sip of wine that intoxicates our senses and we can hardly contain ourselves from drinking more of this blissful state of being. Oh, the ecstasy of walking hand in hand sharing our thoughts and beliefs with another, and having the other absolutely enthralled by every word spoken by us."

When I read that I thought of sipping a little fine wine and walking hand in hand last night with the women who calls me her husband. We may not have been "absolutely enthralled" with one another's words, but we did have a shared feeling of affection and an attitude of attentiveness. It went beyond the outward attentiveness to a kind of merging of minds. My wife made that observation this morning after this unusual exchange: She had sung a bit of a song and then asked, "where did that come from?" because it was not a song she often thinks of. Oddly, at that very moment, I had been thinking of the man who wrote and performed the song.

Being in love is such fun. Strange, isn't it that Jesus said to his followers that to follow him they had to "hate" mother, father...wife, self... I've mulled over that one a lot, not just this week, but over the course of my adult life.

The problem, as I see it now, is that our love for self and family is too narrow. We can get a cloak of sanctity about our great love for our spouse and children, our devotion to our parents and at the same time, become blind to the needs of those outside our little circle. Sometimes, breaking out of the little circle can involve "hate" of a kind. When it is Jesus' kind of "hate" it is more like struggle to grow toward a wider love, a struggle so powerful that it violates the smaller circle.

Jesus is clearly not talking about adultery or divorce when he talks about "hating" ones wife. He is radically supportive of marriage for those who are married. His influence tends to make a person hate the sort of marital limitations that stop a person from expressing love for God and neighbor and seeing in the stranger, a brother.
 
Posts: 455 | Location: Baltimore | Registered: 23 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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That's nice to hear, Ryan.

Here's a nice quote from Henri Nouwen's book, Beyond the Mirror (a book written about his near fatal accident):

quote:
In this perspective, life is a long journey of preparation�of preparing oneself to truly die for others. It is a series of little deaths in which we are asked to release many forms of clinging and to move increasingly from needing others to living for them. The many passages we have to make as we grow from childhood to adolescence, from adolescence to adulthood, and from adulthood to old age offer ever-new opportunities to choose for ourselves or to choose for others. During these passages, questions such as, "Do I desire power or service?" "Do I want to be visible or remain hidden?" "Do I strive for a successful career or do I keep following my vocation?" keep coming up and confront us with hard choices. In this sense, we can speak about life as a long process of dying to self, so that we will be able to live in the joy of God and give our lives completely to others.
 
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Great selections, Brad. I get Nouwen's "thought for the day" from the Nouwn Sociity. Today's thought is on the theme of clinging and losing:

"Losing and Gaining Our Lives

The great paradox of life is that those who lose their lives will gain them. This paradox becomes visible in very ordinary situations. If we cling to our friends, we may lose them, but when we are nonpossessive in our relationships, we will make many friends. When fame is what we seek and desire, it often vanishes as soon as we acquire it, but when we have no need to be known, we might be remembered long after our deaths. When we want to be in the center, we easily end up on the margins, but when we are free enough to be wherever we must be, we find ourselves often in the center.

Giving away our lives for others is the greatest of all human arts. This will gain us our lives."
 
Posts: 455 | Location: Baltimore | Registered: 23 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I very much liked that thought from Nouwen, Ryan. And here's where one can sign up for Henri's "thought of the day"�at least I presume this is the same one you mentioned.
 
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hi Ryan,

Wonderful sharing with us. Celebrating with you the joy of your marriage, and the peace within your heart re sending a card.

Your post is expanding in the circle of love from just the partnership of a couple, into embracing all. Very inspiring, open and loving. Yes, losing our lives for Christ, will gain them. We must give up everything to be a disciple of Christ.

The words of Jesus re hating father, mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters - and one's own life are quite stunning and troublesome for many in understanding Jesus' message.

Jesus is not saying to truly hate the above, which would be the opposite of Him being love, He is saying to us that the number One Commandment must be followed at all times without any exceptions. The Lord, our God must be loved above all else first and foremost. Loving the above named first or others before Him would make the Lord second, and we would be following after idols. We know what the outcome is in such a worship.

We are not to have two Masters in our love relationships. We will love one and hate the other. We cannot do the Will of God and do the will of another which may be in opposition to God. He clearly tells us that we shall have "not other gods" before Him.

To simplify the above, Jesus is saying that in order to be His disciple men and women must love Christ more than their parents, more than their mate, more than their children, more than their sisters and brothers. I could have said this earlier, but so be it now.
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Sometimes it is good to ask others what they think of what love is. Someone yesterday shared with me her joy within her second marriage which is flourishing and happy. She tells me that love for her and her husband is a conscious act of will. It needs to be worked on every single day. She tells me that it is like an invisible child between them that must be fed constantly. Her first marriage was fourteen years to a man who was an opposite to her. The end of this relationship was that they were strangers and had little in common nor shared the same interests together. She further mentioned that at the end of a marriage it is so easy to leave, and hard to stay and try to work things out.
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Ryan, it is great to have you partake of these exchanges with your heartfelt contributions.

Smiler Smiler
 
Posts: 571 | Location: Oregon | Registered: 20 June 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Recently I finished one of Henri Nouwen's books. I don't remember which one it was but in that book I learned that his severely handicapped friend, Adam, had died. Adam is a person who he had come to know and love well while Henri worked at a L'Arche community in Canada. He mentions Adam in several of his books. Adam always made for a good analogy of life and loving. But now I learned he was gone.

I was in the supermarket line and two ladies (one a check-out clerk, the other a bagger) were talking about their sons. Each has a son affected severely with autism. Neither was embarrassed in the least by talking about it. The store was not busy so I stopped and listened for a moment. One of the ladies told me how smart her son was. He was smart and also a master manipulator. If one wasn't careful he would have you doing all the things that he was more than capable of doing himself. Apparently he was giving this treatment to a new school he was attending. They didn't know what he could so I guess they started doing a lot of things for him that he could do himself. But he apparently is very good at expressing exactly what he wants. She told me that I would have no trouble at all figuring it out after only a few moments. And she described autism in an interesting way. She said it was like living with someone who was in a coma who knew they were in a coma. One of the two ladies I was talking to is in the middle of a divorce. I don't wonder.

One senses the tiredness and the latent anger. How could one not be at least a little bit angry? What more does any mother or father want but a happy and healthy child? I understand autism because I sometimes slip into tendencies that resemble such a thing�or so I suppose. I have been allowed to see into so many places. I sometimes wonder when my own Adam will come to me or when I will come to him�or her. But I�m usually the helpless one. Perhaps that's why.

The last thing on my mind when I meet a handicapped child or adult is "God, you rotten bastard." I don't know why this is because I have no problem saying that regarding other things. But a handicapped person usually evokes compassion and love. That's a good thing because they need it. But I don't think it's just nature being nature prompting us to take care of something that looks cute or helpless -- in the vein of us being programmed biologically to think that babies are cute because if we didn't, who would take care of something that takes so much time, causes so much trouble, and makes so much noise? Wink Yes, one might say there is an in-built survival mechanism that causes us to see handicapped people as babies, no matter their age, because they are so helpless, and we instinctively respond to helpless things with love and care. But I can't help think it's more than that. Much more than that. I think we respond as we do because such a helpless creature allows us to pour out truly selfless love and they will hold it even if they may or may not return it in kind. They may or may not be capable of it. But they are able to receive just by being and needing, and it can be hard to find other human beings who are that open and receptive. A handicapped person connects us with our latent desire to love. But in the typical adult world of conditional love, such avenues tend to get closed off. We get little slices and pieces of it here and there, but never a gusher. Well, a handicapped person (or a baby) is a gusher.
 
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Brad, such warm reflections are appreciated. Smiler

Who of us is perfect?. Not a one. We all have a handicap of one sort or another, may it be physical, mental, or emotional. Could it be that most of our handicaps are hidden and guarded from others, and where the signs are obvious we either react with a tremendous love and compassion, and at times come face to face with our own selves in the mirror's reflection.

As work experience for psychology in my college days I chose to volunteer as an aide in a school for autistic children. My appointed child was "Bernard", who lived in a world that we hoped could be connected through love buiding a bridge that could be crossed between us. He was as one mother in the supermarket described like being in a coma. He did not talk and we interacted through much of my talking, going for walks, dancing, music, pointing and looking at birds, flowers, etc. I also when it was permissable by him did much hugging and holding his hands. I always tried to keep a smile upon my face and have a cheerful and happy attitude with him. I introduced stuffed animals for him to feel, and than introduced live ones. The happiness working with Bernard was one of my fondest memories, and the final parting was a miracle of breaking through for him as he returned my hugs and mumbled comprehensibly: "I love you".
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I have been allowed to see into so many places. I sometimes wonder when my own Adam will come to me, or when I will come to him or.... her.
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Brad, could you share some of the experiences of seeing into so many places?.
 
Posts: 571 | Location: Oregon | Registered: 20 June 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Brad, could you share some of the experiences of seeing into so many places?.

I have seen addiction. Abuse. Sadness and despair almost beyond belief. I have seen kindness and gentleness be given ridicule and hatred in return. I have known the worst of isolation caused by human centeredness and brokeness. I�ve have known a loneliness of a depth that makes me wonder how I survived. To say that I have known a "false self" is a severe understatement. I have know great physical pain, and in long stretches. I have known poverty in nearly everything but economic poverty and I seem even heading for that! Wink I have known fear like few others may have experienced. I have known shame as few others would ever want to experience. And through all this, right now, I don�t sit on the precipice of death, of anger, of bitterness or hatred. I sit on the precipice of life. And if I am destined to live much longer, I feel that in some way I am supposed to share this experience so that others have hope, so that others can find a way out of wherever they are.

I�m not sure that I want to get more specific, Freebird, but I hope that I answered your question. Smiler
 
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I love you Brad. Thank you for sharing. Smiler
 
Posts: 571 | Location: Oregon | Registered: 20 June 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Who of us is perfect?. Not a one. We all have a handicap of one sort or another, may it be physical, mental, or emotional. Could it be that most of our handicaps are hidden and guarded from others, and where the signs are obvious we either react with a tremendous love and compassion, and at times come face to face with our own selves in the mirror's reflection..

Yes, I think that�s a very good insight, Freebird. We surely feel a solidarity with those with outward handicaps. The outward and easily noticed handicaps are difficult because they can�t be hidden. A bit of human dignity is wrenched from us. But it�s no piece of cake having a hidden one either. When our handicap is outward it is no less heart-breaking (maybe even more so), but perhaps one is spared the pain of always trying to cover up, of the temptation to believe that one can restore normalcy. That, I can openly tell you, has been my affliction. But do I want to change places with the kind and friendly young man who works at the video store (I think he�s in his early twenties) whose face and arms (and probably much more) is completely disfigured, probably from burns?

All I know is that these are not things to run from. They are things to embrace. And you have surely gained much from the way you embraced Bernard. I�m sure you have many wonderful and sad memories from that caretaking. Feel free to tell a few.
 
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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