In response to the post, What if God is searching for you? Hunter writes, "It's a difficult thing to understand and remain open in the midst of life experiences that can be painful."
Hunter, I’ve borne my share of the kind of pain that could shut me down, make me cynical, closed, even bitter. But I wonder if staying open and vulnerable is really as hard as we often think it is. I wonder if it’s more difficult not to open ourselves; if it's harder to stay closed up. I mean, in my experience, it really takes work and effort to put up walls, grow thick skin. The inner self obsesses, thoughts cycling through my mind. My mind seems to gleefully enjoy peddling my anxious thoughts around in circles, keeping me focused on being a victim or wanting to have some other reality than the one I'm living.
I find I suffer when I feel I am entitled to some other kind of treatment. I suffer when I want something else or to be somewhere else. I suffer when I want something other that what is.
I don’t mean to minimize the pain people like you and I face, but I’ve tasted those moments when, instead of being elsewhere mentally or wanting something else, I am fully present, vulnerable, free to live in this moment. I've tasted remarkable freedom when I don't believe the little stories my thoughts are trying to sell me about myself and others, about my situation, and so on.
Love is difficult because our minds don’t want us to give in to love. Oh, they like the idea, but not the reality. For love by-passes the mind, shelves it for awhile. The mind must sit before love which welcomes all things trustingly, and desires only what is and not what would be, could be, or should be.
I think it’s actually easier to love than to build walls. It's easier to remain open than our controlling minds want us to believe. St. Paul said that he had learned to be content regardless of the circumstances (Phil. 4). He didn’t allow himself to identify himself with any thought. Fully identified with Jesus Christ–”dead” to his false self–he was free to live in love.
Hunter, I hear some of this is your comment. I hear you inching yourself toward the freedom of love. But like us all, your mind gets in there and says, “Watch out. Guard yourself.” The little bugger gets us peddling in cramped little circles again, round and round the petty worries that keep us stirred up. It’s little wonder we’re exhausted. Keeping the walls up around a well-castled self take a lot of overhead.
But when I love, I find I'm never tired.