“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” George Orwell

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Exercising your love muscle

I haven't worked out in probably 3 months.  I am not looking forward to starting up again, but Monday is the day.  Anyway, it is tough getting into shape.  You recognize how you have been a slug, and your body rebels.  It hurts for a while, but ultimately once you get into shape it is great.  You look forward to your workout each day.  But until you decide to do it and then stick to it, your muscles will always hurt because you are always starting over again.  Once it becomes a pattern in your life, it is easy.

Love is like that.  If you always love people who are easy to love, it is like sitting on the couch all day.  You never push yourself, and anytime you are confronted by someone who is in any way difficult to be with or to love, it "hurts" and it is hard.  Perhaps people have poor social skills, or are unkind or make demands on you because of some need they have.  Your choice is to say, "This is too hard, I quit" or to stick with it and like exercising a muscle, it begins to get easier.

I can tell you that after 30 years of befriending persons with cognitive disabilities, loving them is much easier for me than it would be if I had never had any interactions with people with such differences.  The answer is to be with people with differences as you will be stretched. You will learn to love people who may be different than the typical.  You will grow and develop and over time it will get easier.

But for love to happen, the decision has to be made that I am going to love other people even if it is difficult for me.  If I am committed, over time it will get easier...it is a principle that can be counted on.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

the thing i love about starting to work out again is the "good pain" that you feel, like you know you accomplished something and although you are sore, it is a good kind of sore. i always find it hard to actually start working out again though. i will be on a kick for a while, but when i stop i always procrastinate on starting again. i say this week i will start, then i say next monday, then it just gets pushed away to where i don't even think about it anymore.

i think thats how it is at church when we see a new face, especially those who are disabled. you say to yourself, i should go talk to them, then it turns into next week i will, and the week after that i will... and pretty soon we never welcome these new individuals. if we had, although it can be "harder" to talk to these individuals, once you do you get a feeling of accomplishment, a good sore.

i am a youth group leader. it is a great job! part of my job is to scan the room and find the students there who aren't really talking to anyone and make them feel comfortable and welcomed. i still find it hard and sometimes dread talking to the students i know aren't as socially developed as others i usually hang out with. the conversations are always more awkward, it is hard sometimes to be the one who carries the conversation, but when service starts and we sit together, i have a feeling that i helped make them feel a part of the group and it helps me continue the conversations...

even though it can be hard, i want to make good on my commitment ti\o be loving and welcoming to all that i encounter, and then it will no longer be an obligation, but a priveledge