Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Melting the Ice, Learning to Love

A two-hour school delay after a night of precipitation. Snow, freezing rain, sleet... Outside our front window we have a pink dogwood tree, bare of leaves in it's winter slumber. It's branches dressed in a clear sheet of ice. Hard yet delicate. Beautiful, like glass, a sheen of clear crystal.

Inside it's crystal casing a living tree, dormant, but not dead. Waiting for warmer rain and a springtime that will come. Sleet turns to rain and slowly the ice melts away leaving the bare branches free, yet exposed.

And it got me to thinking...

My heart. I keep it protected from most. My hard exterior, pleasant yet cautious. I am covered, my heart is covered by this thick skin. No one can see inside unless I let them. But no matter what I show or the me I project, my heart is delicate. We all want for the same thing. To be loved. To be valued.

What if our shell was clear like ice? What if we could all see the living, beating heart inside? What if we couldn't hide who we are, how we feel, or why we are afraid? Would we be more loving, understanding of each other?

I am special and unique. God made me that way. No one else is like me and yet, I still want to fit in.

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.

(PSALM 139:13-18)

I rarely show you who I am. Because my skin is not a clear shell. And although sometimes I feel free and exposed, I carefully build back that wall or throw on an extra layer of protection, just in case. I make assumptions. I believe lies. I let you see me in parts.

But why? Why are we so motivated by fear? Fear of rejection? Fear of being and showing who we really are? Sharing how we really feel?

Where do we find our identity? Who do we believe?

"Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." (Luke 12:6-8; Matthew 10:29-31)

Because whether we like it or not we are loved by God, even the unbeliever. You can't escape it. And it's a love like we can never fully know because it's a love we aren't capable of giving away. We think we are loving, but what does it mean to love anyway? Who taught us what love is? Because it's not a one-night stand, giving a gift so you can get one, helping so you can feel better about yourself, putting your needs first, disrespecting, objectifying, judging. Love is undeserved. It is self-less. It is compassion, empathy, sacrifice.

I have a lot to learn about love. But we have a wonderful example in Jesus. Consider reading "Love Walked Among Us" by Paul Miller, a great book that scratches the surface of how to love like Jesus.

Could we melt the ice by allowing ourselves to be free and exposed, letting people see who we really are?

Could we learn to love by taking the time to see through each other's thick skin to the living, delicate heart inside?

HOLD ON - by Nichole Nordemann
It will find you at the bottom of a bottle
It will find you at the needle's end
It will find you when you beg and steal and borrow
It will follow you into a stranger's bed

It will find you when they serve you with the papers
It will find you when the locks have changed again
It will find you when you've called in all your favors
It will meet you at the bridge's highest ledge

So baby don't look down, it's a long way
The sun will come around to a new day

So hold on
Love will find you
Hold on
He's right behind you now
Just turn around
And love will find you

It will find you when the doctor's head is shaking
It will find you in a boardroom, mostly dead
It will crawl into the foxhole where you're praying
It will curl up in your halfway empty bed

So baby don't believe that it's over
Maybe you can't see 'round the corner

To hang between two thieves in the darkness
Love must believe you are worth it

1 comment:

a.willard said...

thanks for warming my heart with the love of Christ enough to melt my fears and share them with you. You are the love of my life. There is and never will be anyone I would rather walk this road of life with.

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