Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Holding the Heart

Is it possible to love others when one is unloving to one’s self? Is it possible to truly have compassion if one does not allow for self-compassion? Can we truly seek to change the world making it more loving, just, and nonviolent if many people do not take the time to question the relationship we have within ourselves or with ourselves? 

Each day I encounter more and more people who truly desire to be more loving toward others and who truly believe that helping is the basis of their faith and yet, the working out of these actions are done in aggression and through methods of power and control. There appears to be a gap, a large gap that is leading me to believe that without holding one’s self gently one is not able to hold others or the world gently.

But this leads to another societal problem, at least for some in the Christian faith. Taking the time to understand the inner heart. We in America are always doing, always consuming, always working toward achieving, or attaining. Its what we are told we must do in order to be the great America! We consume and in many ways, our desire to “help” is one more method of consumption. Its how we measure who we are, by what we accomplish. Even the faith tradition of which I am apart measures and promotes its success by how much we do: Are we missional enough, are we giving enough, do we have enough programs and offerings to attract the younger generation? And yet I wonder are those the right questions or are they just one more way to distract us from digging deep within and discovering the violence that lives within our hearts? If doing more and doing better is the answer, why is so much such a mess? Why are so many lives with so much so empty? Why are so many people still so uncompassionate? 

While I do not want to entirely stop “doing.” I no longer want to do without knowing who I am. I want to go deep within and discover the hidden recesses of my heart learning to hold myself gently, learning from my heart what is there, seeing myself with eyes of compassion and maybe if I do this, the manner in which I move among my world will gradually change.

I suppose what I am trying to say is until I learn to hold my own heart gently, I may struggle with how I hold the heart of another. 

Kristi McLaughlin

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