Archive for December 2017

No Greater Love   Leave a comment

I have a tendency to take things literally and so I think this has colored my understanding of the text in John 16 where Jesus says, “Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”  If you read on from that point, where Jesus says he’s calling his disciples friends, it’s easy to infer that he’s referring to what he’s about to do.  And Jesus does literally give his life for his friends, which includes his 12 disciples, but us as well.  So until last week, I didn’t get any further with that verse than thinking 1) Jesus is stating what he’s about to do for us and 2) he’s saying that a willingness to even die for someone else if needed is the test that you really love.

There is so much more to it than that.

So forgive me for stating the obvious (if this was already obvious to you), but this time when I read those verses I saw something else.

It isn’t laid down all at once. It’s laid down each moment of each day.
If you lay down your life, that does not necessarily mean that you die doing it.
Maybe you don’t die.
Maybe you are already laying down your life.
Maybe you are laying down what you want, your ideas and plans, even the idea that it is your life to begin with.
Perhaps you are in a difficult work situation or relationship situation, that requires dedication. It goes on and is not temporary. It’s not what you signed up for, but it the reality you currently face. In moving forward through the challenges of it, you are laying down your life.

As you get older, perhaps you feel it more, this laying down. As you go forward, it’s unrolling like a layer of asphalt or perhaps a lovely red carpet. There will be an end to it, not seen by you, but you know it’s closer. Maybe that’s why you feel the laying down.
Also you can’t take it up again; you can’t get it back. It’s irretrievable.
When you give it away, it’s given, it’s gone. But that is as it should be, because after all, you are laying it down.

No greater love.  You lay it down.

 

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Posted December 28, 2017 by swanatbagend in servanthood

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More   Leave a comment

At many points throughout my life, I have wanted to do more.

Whether I was genuinely motivated by a wish of my own or an original idea, or just looking on at what other amazing people had accomplished, the emotional results were the same.  I read about a five year old who started her own non-profit to bring hot lunch to the other children in her school.  I observed the faithful and amazing way a woman I knew wisely and lovingly parented her children.  I admired local entrepreneurs who started their own brewery in an abandoned church.  I saw a doctor friend both parent her children and further her career.   I scratched my head in amazement at the knowledge and skill required to found and run a company like Google or Tesla.  I gathered from the vibe in my culture that I was supposed to have a paid career and that my at-home-ness was an odd aberration that better childcare options would make unnecessary.

At times, the observations I made about what other people were doing left me with the sense that there was something wrong with me, that the work I found joy in was too little of a contribution, that I should somehow be doing something more or something better.

Should.

Be doing more.

Be doing better.

Then I saw an ant.  It was doing what ants do best.  She was seeking food for her sisters.  She was removing obstacles from the doorway to her nest.  She was cleaning her antennae.  She was sprinting along the sidewalk.  She was crunchy, streamlined, tiny, formed of amazing minuscule parts, but perfect.  She was beautifully pursuing who she was made to be.

She wasn’t trying to pollinate flowers.  She wasn’t feeling disappointed because she couldn’t get her abdomen to light up every night.  She wasn’t attempting to migrate to Mexico.  She wasn’t sunk into despair because she could not stride rapidly past into the upper distance like those giants who shake the earth.

My conclusion is not that challenging aspirations should not be pursued because they are too difficult, or that there is an underclass of people who aren’t good enough to deserve meaningful work, or that a specific gender is responsible for all childcare and it’s immoral if they escape their homes.

Rather, there is no need to think we must do something better or something more or something else that someone outside us says we should be doing.  We can move forward following the leadings we’re given.  We can trust that who we are is enough.

 

 

 

Posted December 1, 2017 by swanatbagend in identity

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