Sunday, February 26, 2006


Destruction and Love

I sat on the beach yesterday, letting my thoughts be guided by ocean waves and the Holy Spirit as I continued to mull over Lu's writing about "What It's about." Here are some more wild-hair ideas.

Satan obviously sees me only as a thing to be used to help destroy love in this world. I've ignored questions of love for most of my life because the word means so many different things that it has become meaningless. If you want to tear down a world, remove the love from it and you've pretty much got it done. God cares greatly for me, enough so that, unlike Satan, he gives me an open choice. Satan works under the surface, by hints, tiny suggestions that add up over the years to an intolerable weight.

Last night I met with some on-line friends for our weekly Music Night. This has become important to all of us. The conversation is always different, depending upon who shows up and what kind of mood we're in. I played music somewhat more conducive to contemplation than I had the previous week, and perhaps that's what got us talking about self-esteem.

It's one of those subjects that everyone lampoons, but it never goes away. That's a pretty good sign, not only that it's important, but that Satan has been working on it. If he can get us to laugh and ridicule, then the serious aspects will be eroded to nothing.

I really don't like myself. I never have. Should I like myself? If so, how do I do it? What would give me grounds for liking myself? I need permission from someone. Where is that person? What would I do if they did come along and permit me to like myself?

Here I get caught in the crossfire between my own inquisitive nature and the way I've been taught. God doesn't care for the person. He cares only for tools. Hmmm... That sounds more like Satan to me. Guess who's in charge of teaching us to live in this world? Right. The problem is that the assumptions are just that: invisible parts of the person. Only the Holy Spirit has enough light, enough love and enough patience to winkle out the truth. I just have to keep walking, which is sometimes very hard to do.

If I keep walking, sooner or later I'll get someplace. If I'm listening to God while I walk the chances are the place I end up will be better than where I am now. But I'm not very trusting, especially when he starts talking about love.

I know where love got him. Crucified. I may not care that much for life, but I don't like pain at all. I lead a life of pain-avoidance. And yet, without love it is impossible to know God, and I want to know him. I know that his gaze brings change, his light produces new growth and that cracks the old structures. None of that feels good. Does he understand? Yes. He is the one whose Father abandoned him on a cross and left him to hang there and die. He knows. I still don't trust him.

But there is learning. The Cross looms in the future, perhaps. Some form of death, from daily little ones to the ultimate biggie at the end of my physical time, is a most definite factor in the future. I'm not there yet. I may never get there. All I'm asked to do is walk, and believe. It's not as if he's asking for faith in faith, either. He gives me good reasons to believe.

He knows my unbelief, my unloving nature. But as my friend Aeris pointed out last night, "There is more of love in you than you will admit." I don't want to know that, either. Quite a quandary. My unconsciousness, God's awareness.

What makes awareness work at all is God's gentle help. He keeps the worst of the world's sharp edges from cutting my tender new skin. Love destroys death that's understood as life, and gives life that looks like death. I'm beginning to understand, and I wonder if perhaps this isn't part of the whole self-esteem thing. Self esteem comes from God: he calls me "very good." Someday maybe I'll believe it.

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