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 On Monday, we explored the “Home of Me”—learning, leaning into, and living from the who that God dreamt of as he knit us in the womb of our mothers. Stepping into the glory of being fully human even as we find the divine at work in and through us. Today, I want to talk more about how we learn to do this.

Following up on Frederick Buechner’s teaching on a life well-lived, another quote comes to mind as our guide in this mysterious human/divine mix we are. “To lose yourself in another’s arms, or in another’s company, or in suffering for all who suffer, including the ones who inflict suffering upon you—to lose yourself in such ways is to find yourself.”

I have experienced and witnessed that when we allow this thing we call “love” to tackle us—even for those who feel to us to be unlovable—maybe especially for those who we feel to be unlovable, is so difficult, painful even, is to crack our humanity wide open in such a way that the divine buried within begins to seep out like the juice from a smashed tangerine. And, if instead of trying to clean up the mess we let it stain everything it bleeds onto, in time that divinity within will gush out like Noah’s flood when the earth broke open and great internal rivers covered the earth and drown the other in love, too.

We often hear, “love is not an emotion, but a choice of action”. What we’re not usually told, though, is the bare-naked truth of it. Love can be a crushing, agonizing thing. People we love die. People we love betray us. People we love leave us. People we love become addicts and hurt us. Sometimes, we even break our own hearts by having to put down a beloved pet. Yet, somehow, we keep loving. Why?

Because as Anne Lamott wrote in Notes on Hope, “Love has bridged the high-rises of despair we were about to fall between. Love has been a penlight in the blackest, bleakest nights. Love has been a wild animal, a poultice, a dinghy, a coat. Love is why we have hope.”.

Perhaps, this is why I Corinthians 13 tells us there is faith, hope, and love, but of these three, the greatest is love. Because it is love that lifts us from utter doom to hope, and any tiny scrap of hope can muster our faith. Love peels back the darkness.

I admit that I wax and wane in the love category. And, the hardest of all for me to love is myself. I can be a wild beast of a thing and tear at all those who reach out to me, and yet, it is always love that catches me on its wings as I fling myself from some jagged cliff and flies me safely home to myself—my true self, not the one the lies in my head have well-rehearsed. The Home of Me, from which is the only place I can truly choose to love another—the whole broken, desperate world, even.

Let’s choose this day to love ourselves, in part at least, so that we might truly love at least one other so much that we would lay down our life for them.

Love, your sister along the journey,

Love, your sister along the journey,

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