Thursday, September 24, 2009

FINE!

Sheesh. Can't a girl take a Blogcation?

Seriously, I have a lot on my mind. I've just had a hard time putting it into words. I have several topics in mind, but I'll run with this one:

LOVE.

How do we actually 'love' others?

I have been thinking of this a lot. If I am to love my enemy (and I believe I am), how do I do that? First, I have to define my enemy. Who is that? Someone who threatens me physically? Then I guess we have to look at our global enemies, those who might take away our physical freedoms, right? I think that's the easiest way to define the word. Then how do we love them? Pray for them? Send good thoughts? Physically MOVE OUR BODIES INTO ACTION and help them? Julie just read a book called Three Cups of Tea, maybe she can share some of that here.

I think that's too easy, though, too literal. Who else do my enemies include? People who have hurt me? Sure. People who still hurt me? Yep. And when I dig deep into that well, there is where I see where I'm lacking in love. Without getting into politics again*, I will say that others' viewpoints have hurt me. And I know that's wrong. And unjust. But sometimes people, through their opinions alone, have caused me pain.

So...what have I been working on? Loving them for our differences. I just re-read Embraced by the Light (changed my life years ago and was as powerful this time), and I realize now that it doesn't really matter if we have differences. We're all on different spiritual journeys and they're supposed to be different. We're supposed to see things differently.

So sometimes, when I see a hateful status update, or a venomous blog entry, I need to learn to leave it alone. To pray for peace and happiness for that person or entity and move along. And don't feel those negative feelings towards them. It's counterproductive and, frankly, a waste of precious time. I don't think loving them means trying to convince them that I am right. I don't even think it means calling them out on their negativity (although I did that once or twice). I think it means loving them for exactly who they are. Even if I don't agree with it.

Mindi and I have mastered this. We've had lots of practice. Politically, we are classic Right and Left. We have a very hard time finding middle ground. But it's humbling how our relationship has changed, and grown, because of our love for each other. And our love for humanity, actually.

Who else, then, is our enemy? Anyone who challenges our emotional comfort? Anyone who takes more than they give? Anyone who makes poor decisions and makes others suffer for them? Anyone who makes us angry? Anyone whose lifestyle we do not condone?

And, most importantly, how do we love them?

*From now on, I'm going to try to keep my political conversations to facebook. Because it's as exciting (right, ladies?!) and there's no risk of anonymous posters. If you want to be my friend there, find me. I accept everyone.

14 comments:

Leanne said...

Note: My thoughts are really boring without you. I look forward to hearing your thoughts!

Laura Jean said...

Deep thoughts. I myself am on some sort of spiritual journey and there are all kinds of questions and thoughts floating around in my mind, and I haven't yet been able to organize them. But one thing I have learned so far is that I have to learn to let go of my anger- it is my default emotion, and I have to let go of those times where I have been hurt by others. I don't consider them my enemies, but I have to learn to love them just as much as anyone else. Love makes the world go 'round. :)

MindiJo said...

So glad the blogcation is over. Thank you.

You made tears come to my eyes. Love you, always. Even if you are a liberal. ;) I'm incredibly thankful for you.

Don't even remember what this post is about, I was so touched by your comment.

Leanne said...

I maybe should have said this. How many times have you, when you've thought of a person, thought, "I don't like him/her." Does that consititute an enemy? In this entry, I used that term, even though it doesn't follow in the traditional definition. THOSE are the people I think it's hardest to apply the "love" rule.

Leanne said...

Mindi - I used to think, I'm not a liberal, I'm not really anything. But now I realize that I am. I proudly embrace being a liberal, a progressive, a feminist, a Christian...etc. It's okay to have labels. :D

I love you back.

Scandy said...

Great post, Leanne. First, I endorse your decision to leave politics to the forum in which a name must be left. Rah. Second, very interesting question.

My response is that I hold ideologies/practices as enemies. If Qwest is wronging me, I don't hold it against the Customer Service Representative who had the unfortunate opportunity to take my call the other morning. But, as an agent for that company and its workings, I hold the person accountable. Not responsible. We work through it, but Qwest and its practices are not liked by me.

Same in other areas. As far as not liking people, they're not my enemies. Not liking (instead of vilifying them) moves them into a more neutral area...I dismiss them more often than not. It took a fair bit of therapy to work to the point of dismissing someone's hurtful opinion...or the person him or herself. Hearing is important, but dismissing what is heard is okay. It's how humans need to operate.

To actually think of someone as an enemy moves the feeling from neutral to active again on the friend...nothing...enemy continuum.

I try to do the same with statements: Positive...nothing...negative. There are plenty of places along the continuum to stop and ponder, too, and no thought or person has to remain fixed in the position you leave it.

There. That's what my $15/session copay gets me today.

Scandy said...

Whoops...I went to your other question first...love, how do you love?

I think it's our human default setting that gets warped the older we get. I forget to love first because of what my feeble mind sees first. Bad Andy.

There's an idiom I need to internalize...principle over personality. If the idea is to love first, the personality shouldn't matter...nor should appearance, politics, creed, orientation, or driving a FORD matter.

I think I should pay you $15 today for helping me remember what I need to work on, Leanne.

Julie said...

Warning: lots of ramblings ahead.

We were talking about love recently and what we think it means. I had found a Hebrew definition of love "Ahava" which means "I give" and "love". Isn't that beautiful? I think love is an overused word and when it's true, it's more than just an emotion- it's followed by you giving something of yourself. Whether that would be your time, assistance, acceptance, generosity, compassion, affection or your heart.

The book Three Cups of Tea is incredible! The main character, Greg, truly was on a journey of love. What was so fascinating, is the kindness he showed to America's "enemies". Only I learned that this whole idea I had of the Middle East being mainly terrorists is so wrong. The people in those countries are poor and also victims of extremists. Greg builds schools over there, to help the locals fight extremists with knowledge and education, especially that of girls. How amazing is that? The craziest thing is that after that book has sold millions of copies and his foundation has raised lots of money, he hasn't retired. He's still over there, a lone American, building schools. :) What an example of love!

It's kind of funny- we should love our enemies but sometimes our biggest adversary is ourselves. Probably the best place to start.

This blog gave me a lot to think about- how do I define my enemies? I don't really know. I know I have a hard time with people who are judging of me but again, part of that is an enemy within me that I struggle with- insecurity.

Thanks, Leanne. I especially liked that you said that "loving them doesn't mean trying to convince them I'm right". Awesome insight. Great post.

ethiopifinn said...

Crista Tippit (i don't know how to spell her name) on NPR's Speaking of Faith was a replay last sunday. But this was the topic! Did you happen to hear it? I really fell for the guy she was interviewing, but his beautifully Irish name escapes me. Their website is good, if someone wanted to listen to the podcast.
This could be an opening for the Love Languages. Do you love in your love language, or love someone with love that makes sense to them?
As far as enemies...wow. That is a big one and I have nothing to add!

ethiopifinn said...

And no. No Blogcations! ;)

Leah said...

I have cousins I haven't spoken to in years because of a financial dispute when my grandma died. Their actions were inconceiveable to me...even though the actions were geared toward my mom and not direct attacks at me. I chose to forgive them in my heart. I'm sure I still love them, but don't think about it in those terms. It makes me sad, but I can't change them...would never try. Yes, I could reach out to make amends, but they are not the kind of people I want to associate with...family or otherwise.

When I was reading your post, it immediately made me think of a short phrase that runs through my mind frequently: don't spend major time on minor people. (Sorry if it sounds callous, but it works for me in many situations.) Are enemies minor people? Maybe...maybe not. I suppose it depends what kind of threat they are to you. I forgive people, I feel sad for people, sometimes pity, too. I accept that they are who they are and respect the differences. No point spinning my wheels trying to change them. Some friendships can bridge that gap while others cannot.

Scandy said...

I love (that was for Julie) the Love Languages topic. Good call, ethiopifinn.

Leah, your phrase rings through my head just when it should...major time, minor people. Amen.

Leanne said...

Laura - I am so proud of you.

Scandy - you're probably right that people I don't like do not necessarily consitute enemies. But if I lack love for them, then they might as well be, right? I like your observation on that though.

Julie - I love this: "it's more than just an emotion- it's followed by you giving something of yourself."

Jen: I'll look it up, I did not see it. Sounds facinating!

Leah - I think you're right. That's why I ask the question, how do you love someone? By inviting another's negative energy close to us isn't productive in our own lives. 'Tis better (in your situation and so many others) to maintain distance, but forgive in your heart. Then you have no negativity looking to attract more of the same! Excellent point.

Great conversation. I have the smartest friends!

Julie said...

Haha, Scandy! I catch myself using "love" all the time. I try not to but it's darn near impossible. :)

Ethiopifinn- I would "love" to hear the broadcast. ;) And "love languages" would be an awesome blog topic.