What is is to search for our own soul. (It doesn’t matter what you call it. It is our inner core…our best self.) How do we turn away from the things that our society has led us to believe are the ultimate good? When are we able to grow enough to cast aside the ideas that we have been taught from birth?
Most of us who have spent our lives in western society have been taught to reach for things that are finite. We look to find joy and peace in things that fade. We want everything taken care of NOW! We are impatient and want pills to cure our ills that work fast. If we feel the slightest bit bored we want entertainment that distracts us from spending time with ourselves. We want to be as beautiful at 80 as we were at 25. The look of youth is the ultimate. We want things to feed our emptiness with…cars, jewelry, clothes, electronics, houses….anything to make us important. We want to seem important, looked up to and emulated. We think that these will be fulfilling. They won’t. Their rewards to us are ephemeral.
Turning away from these illusions and seeking the soul itself is a challenge. Can we go against society and understand that love and compassion and empathy and generosity are what matters? These are eternal.
Seek inside yourself for the things that really matter and pursue them.
If I think I have serious problems all I have to do is to look around me. I know that all of us have problems but there sure are some I wouldn’t want to have. One friend has a child with a brain tumor, another friend has had 2 recurrent brain tumors, I can look around me and there are people in pain with things unimaginable.
I need to remember to be grateful. Maybe I need to start saying: thank you that I don’t have a brain tumor, thank you that my children, grandchildren and great grandchild are well. Thank you that I am not in a wheel chair. Thank you that I have a home to live in. Thank you that I have food to eat.
I could spend the rest of the day listing the things that are a gift. I don’t need to be saying “poor me” and feeling bad.
Focusing on the good things makes life a lot more joyous. Gratitude helps us. Sometimes we are sad that some of our own problems are difficult and it is ok to understand that but it is not ok to dwell on it. It doesn’t help.
Find some way to keep track of the good things and focus on them.
Today has been quite a day. My son was supposed to come and help my husband fix a leaking pipe in our yard. Unfortunately, he hurt his knee and couldn’t help. My husband is pretty handy but forgets we are aging and decided to tackle it anyway. He also forgets he has had knee surgery and is not totally bendable. Bad idea.
He dug part of the hole where the pipes are and had to quit. I went to help and dug the rest of the hole. We then had to cut the old pipes away to fix the leak. The water was shut off at the main. Somehow that general cutoff for the water wouldn’t close completely although we didn’t know that at first. Since my husband couldn’t get down in the hole guess who did? He gave me a tool to cut the pipes which sort of worked….except I had to finally use a hacksaw to finish the three pipes. After taking away the cut pieces it was time to try and put new in,
The pipe from the water main just kept running….enough to fill the hole with water. Then to get to the pipes I had to bail water out of the hole (while some continued to run in). I was faster and we got the water down enough to see the pipes but water continued to run. This was the point where I called a halt and said “we are calling a plumber.” The only problem being that this is Sunday. We had to find some way to stop the flow for now and still be able to turn the water back on.
My husband managed to find a shutoff valve that he was able to glue onto the pipe spewing water and get it stopped. Water is back on and so far so good. The plumbers will be called in the morning. I think we started this whole scenario at about 1 pm and finished around 4 pm.
Thank goodness for a sense of humor. If I couldn’t laugh about this I would be ready to let loose with some very bad language. Now that I am out of the hole, showered and fed things look a lot better. This will go down in the family annals as what happens when you overreach.
We are both tired and still speaking to each other. Time to put this day behind us.
Any man who thinks he can describe love understands nothing about it. from The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson
Love really can’t be explained. It has so many facets. Advertisements want us to see love as passion and sex. It sells things from perfume to Viagra. Passion is important. It keeps humanity going but it is a minute part of love. There is so much more.
I talked a little about this in an old blog. The Greeks had a totally different way to look at love and did a much better job of seeing it.
We need to experience the full range of love in our lives. Explore your life and find the different ones that you have experienced or are experiencing. Broaden your thinking beyond what advertising wants us to see.
This is what most of us think of when love is mentioned. We have narrowed love down to sexual attraction. This love can be like a flame that burns down and dies. We have lost so much by doing this. I think we know other kinds of love are out there but we push them to the back.
2. “Philia” or Affectionate Love
This is our love for our friends. If we are blessed to have friends who love us and that we love in return we should rejoice. This love leads to caring about others.
3. “Storge” or Familiar Love
This is love of family. We can actually have this love for long term friends who have become family to us. It is similar to Philia
4. “Ludus” or Playful Love
This is like the early stages of Eros but with something added to the sexual attraction. This can be flirting or playful affection.
5. “Mania” or Obsessive Love
Mania is a dangerous kind of love. This is the abusive partner who bit by bit isolates the loved on from all others. This is obsessive love.
6. “Pragma” or Enduring Love
This is the love of a couple who have spent a lifetime together. Their love has componets of all the positive loves. It cherishes familiar love and Philia. It includes Eros. It is a deep and constant love.
7. “Philautia” or Self Love
The Greeks understood that we have to learn to love ourselves in order to love others. This love is important to ground us as persons.
8. “Agape” or Selfless Love
Most of us see this love as the ultimate love. The love that Christ had for us. It is when we can love the unlovable.
Following is the prayer we said today at Ash Wednesday service. I think that these words are something that we all need to hear. All of us have things to regret. I have printed it complete on my other blog.
We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We have not forgiven others as we have been forgiven.
Our past unfaithfulness, the pride, envy, hypocrisy, and apathy that have infected our lives, we confess to you.
Our self-indulgent appetites and ways, and our exploitation of other people, we confess to you.
Our negligence in prayer and worship, and our failure to share the faith that is in us, we confess to you.
Our neglect of human need and suffering, and our indifference to injustice and cruelty, we confess to you.
Our false judgments, our uncharitable thoughts toward our neighbors, and our prejudice and contempt toward those who differ from us, we confess to you.
Our waste and pollution of your creation, and our lack of concern for those who come after us, we confess to you.
Quite often I sit and wonder what I am going to write about. Most of the time something comes to me and I start with a thought and have no idea where it is going. Usually it works into something that what never what I thought in the beginning.
Today the only thing that came to mind is that in June my husband and I will have been married for 57 years. I can’t say that a single one of them have been bad. We never questioned that we belong together even on the off days. Ups and downs yes but never infidelity or desire to be with someone else. This quote from C.S. Lewis is fitting.
Today I did another mediation. It is always interesting to see what it is about. Sometimes it is someone owing someone else money. Sometimes it is member of a family arguing about something minor. Usually with families the problem is not what they have brought to us but lost in their past history. With cases like this it is usually not possible to resolve anything. There is too much water under the bridge.
Too often we see families divided over long standing hurts and disagreements. Families are not perfect but it makes me so sad to see them totally divided. We have so few people in life who love us unconditionally. What leaps to mind is my dogs. It seems we humans have more trouble understanding each other. We are so ready to let good relationships fall away.
Keeping a family together is hard work just as keeping a marriage together. Feelings get hurt, people behave badly, things go wrong. Sometimes parents have tried their hardest to do the right things and sometimes the parents are damaged themselves and can’t parent well. No matter what happens having a loving family to support you in life is one of life’s greatest blessings.
Unconditional love is not easy but we do have to try. Sometimes is it impossible and we have to move on. When that happens my hope is that a new relationship can be formed using the lessons learned from the past. Being loved and loving is worth the effort.