Swelling vs. Pouring: Love is not Proud

 

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Love is not proud

If pride had density and could be measured, I imagine it swelling. Air filling a balloon, blood filling a bruise. There’s really only so much room, and the balloon pops; the bruise becomes painful, skin stretched and tender to the touch.

Except it isn’t so obvious.

We are in a world so swollen with pride; it feels natural to join right in. To collect our rights, our fears, our love, bottle it up to swell inside us. Without even noticing it grows like a mold in the folds of our insecurities as we beg to be noticed, appreciated, celebrated. For: our work, our beauty, our craft, our ministry. It’s slow but always swelling.

But love is always in the emptying.

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It makes me think of a story about a widow, her son, and a traveling prophet. When the prophet met her, she was gathering sticks for a fire. She’d saved only enough oil and flour for a single meal–the last meal–for herself and her son. She had one meal to her name, nothing more, certainly nothing to give. But the prophet asked her for bread, saying something that must of stopped her heart. “The jar of flour shall not be spent, and the jug of oil shall not be empty.” And against all logic, she brought him her last scraps of food, pouring out her flour and oil… to find that it kept on pouring.

Love is always the emptying. The pouring out and pouring in, the giving up of: rights, words, debts. It fills up our gaps, the cracks and holes in other hearts.

Then, just when you think you should stop, bottle it up for yourself, you hear Him speak: pour me some water, bring me some bread.

And, against all logic, it keeps on flowing.

1 Corinthians 13:4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

 

balloon image via unsplash- hiperstermum
lightbulb imageimage via unsplash- sharonpittaway.com

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Soul Love and Honey I Shrunk The Kids

Ants

A few weeks back when the evenings were still warm and hazy with leftover sun, E and I were walking and I stopped to bend close to earth, watch an ant shudder with the weight of a burden ten times it’s size.

There was no hill in sight. And I wondered aloud how far into the stubby grass it’s home was hidden.

Isn’t it amazing that most of their homes we can’t see, E said.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

crazy huge underground ant hill
crazy huge underground ant hill

Today I flatten three monstrous ant mounds in attempt to uncover–I soon realize– an unessential piece of plastic. I feel bad. First I haphazardly destroyed their homes. Then I only retrieved some ineffective ant-poisoning kit. (I feel less bad for the world of insects when I think the giant horsefly that psychotically circled my head during my entire run earlier that day.) Then I am additionally comforted by E’s words about ant homes.

There’s labyrinth beneath the earth.

People

It’s been said that you can never really know someone. And though I wish it weren’t true, I think it mostly is. There is so much to us–our minds, souls, spirits, desires, emotions, fears, dreams, experiences. There are miles of underground yearnings to uncover.

But this is the hard part. Because to uncover is hard work. Because to uncover haphazardly is to hurt, to be careless in our digging is to be destructive to the ones we want to love most.

And at the same time, to leave it all buried is to ignore the intricacy and beauty with which our loved one is built, to deny our call to find it out and love them better.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

There are places in a soul that cannot be discovered or much less explored, and yet there are beautiful and sacred paths we must travel to fully love a person well. But we cannot simply swipe away at what we easily see to get beneath the surface. We must enter as the experts do, by becoming as small to our “self” so we can travel beneath the surface as the ants.

Now it’s getting weird, you’re thinking. she’s talking about shrinking to ant-size to do soul-cavern travel. I’ve got to admit, it is weird, and  it makes me laugh. It also hearkens happy memories of Honey I shrunk the kids and the ant who made us all cry.

a still from the epic 1989 movie Honey I shrunk the Kids
a still from the epic 1989 movie Honey I shrunk the Kids

 

But it’s crazy how true it is! (the shrinking, not the teary ant-goodbye.)
We need to shrink, to become less. Not less of who we truly are. Not to pervert a healthy relationship into an unhealthy worship/affinity of someone else. But to be truly and rightly less, I think, is is to let go of the things that cause us to be enraptured by ourselves, that cause me to have me as the biggest thing occupying my mind.

And to be less.
self-seeking, self-worthy, self-dependent

is to become more.

More able to travel in the shoes of our soul-mate. More able to understand and relish the unique beauty of our loved one’s soul labyrinth. Able to identify where their weaknesses and fears stem from. Able to spur them on in their dreams and desires. And finally, able to love more completely. More wildly.

To love like one divine man who became less to love the world.
~ MR

>>>>>>>>>>>
i love you E