Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Love, No Matter What
Flickr photo by jimbob!, creative commons
"I don't get it," my son said on Saturday, grumbling when I wouldn't let him change the channel from the Today show. "Why are they doing all this wedding talk anyway?" he said. "It's not like the whole country really knows her."
I tried to say something about the joy a wedding brings, how it reminds us of hope and promise, of love and new beginnings. Besides, I did feel like I knew Chelsea Clinton a teensy bit, having watched her grow up over the years.
By that time, Ben had lost interest and started texting somebody.
I should have pointed him to Millie Martini Bratten. As Editor-in-Chief at Brides magazine, she explained that the toasting and dancing and wedding traditions gave America a much-needed lift. "No matter what is going on in the world," she said, "there is love."
What a good reminder.
No matter what is going on in the world, there is love.
I'm a terrible flip flopper on this matter.
It's not that I don't believe it. I absolutely do. It's just that it's such a tug of war for me.
On the one hand, I want to fully be a participant in this world. News junkie that I am, I want to know what's going on. Tell me everything, the feel good stories and the teary traumas. The natural disasters and the stories of recovery and hope. I want to know about the shootings and the crying, the hunger and the wars, even as I go through my comfortable day.
I want to know so I can pray, I say. But sometimes I remember and sometimes I don't.
Other times I just stand there, watching the TV screen, trying to keep my jaw from falling open.
There is so much pain in the world, it's astounding. But there's also joy in the face of it. Even peace, sometimes. This astounds me too.
On the other hand, I want to give my TV to Goodwill and become a Baptist nun. I want to spend my life walking through the woods, thanking God for moss and the fact that birds sing. I want to write poem prayers in my head about the beauty of breathing, the trickle of a creek, the uncurling of a fiddlehead fern. I want to ponder free will and grace.
This requires quiet and cloistering away. Certainly no news reports.
See the problem?
To which world do I belong?
I'm God's, first and foremost, but I live in community, and I love that too. God created us to be here, to share his love with each other, to serve each other, to enjoy his peace.
Ah, peace. I think that's what this flip flopping is really about for me.
So I've had to get stern with myself and set a limit on the news. Moderation in everything, right? Being aware is important, but I need serenity too. When anything stands in my way of finding God's peace, I know it's time to make a life adjustment.
Do you find it hard to straddle two worlds? What helps you?
I think Bratton's words will help. No matter what is going on in the world, there is love.
A love the Psalmist describes so well:
How exquisite your love, O God! How eager we are to run under your wings, To eat our fill at the banquet you spread as you fill our tankards with Eden spring water. You're a fountain of cascading light, and you open our eyes to light.
Psalm 36:7-9, The Message
Thank you God, for the strong shelter of your wings, for the banquet of a new day, for living water that always refreshes. As we walk through this world of pain and sorrow, of joy and hope, open our eyes to see your light. Cascade all over us!
Have a wonder-full day, y'all!