My blog post a couple of weeks ago (Repentance is so hard!) was probably a better fit for this week’s topic of “lost keys” (mine was a lost Fitbit), but my point at that time was the revelation of unconscious ritual. In that entry I revealed how hard it is to replace unconscious habits with conscious practices that serve to remind us that we are living in the presence of the Divine.
So this week, I want to take a different tack: God loves us anyway.
Perhaps it is because I am retired, in my late 60’s, have fewer demands on my time and fewer responsibilities. Perhaps it is because I am by nature an introspective person, have been meditating for 20 years, have been seeing a spiritual director monthly for 17 years. I am not nearly as anxious or stressed out about my shortcomings as I once was.
I recognize that there are many ways in which I have failed and continue to fail to be all that I could be, all that I hoped to be; failed to do all that I could do. I swear a lot, get impatient with other drivers, yell at the TV. I can embarrass myself, feel insecure. At times I can be overbearing, judgmental, dismissive. I forget that God is with me, right here, right now. God has given me gifts, abilities and opportunities that I have not utilized to their fullest. I am always surprised to find some bad habit or another that gets in my way.
But I am all that God needs me to be. That is because God loves me just as I am, regardless of who or what I am. That is God’s unconditional love.
Don’t get me wrong. I sincerely want to do what I can to make the world a better place. I want to teach and heal. I want to be a conduit of God’s love. I do believe that I have done so and continue to do so in my own small ways. But I don’t need to win God’s approval or God’s love. It is hard to believe or accept but both are freely given. If fact, the more I am able to accept the reality of God’s love for me, the less I judge myself and the more I love myself. The more I love myself, the easier it is for me to pass on that love as freely as it was given to me. I don’t need to judge or approve of others in order to love them.
…love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all the burnt offerings and sacrifices.