Tuesday, February 09, 2010

let's make that selfless love...

...not sacrificial love. they are close, but not the same. still having the same issues, but hey, I'll work through them! I was having a bit of a talk with myself as I was straightening my hair tonight. [yes, new hobby. as a lifer on the curly hair circuit, it's time well spent...I GET TO HAVE STRAIGHT HAIR!!!!] I am sucking the life out of my happiness, with my loathing, "edmonton-in-february" blues. and in the words of some 80's hair band, "we're not going to take it anymore". I am done with my bad attitude. for real this time. time to get this fat arse off the couch and start moving and taking care of myself. how, you may wonder, does this even relate to my issues of having to talk in church on sunday? well my thought was this: if I can't love myself in a selfless manner [wow, deep.], then how can I love anyone else with any measure of selflessness? just a heads up, I am coming from an extraordinarily christian perspective as I write. be offended if it makes you feel better, or just take it for what it is - my theological perspective on something I know very little about. bottom line, christian or not, feel free to engage me in conversation on this topic. I'd love the feedback.

so, I am going to go to the lovely "frayer" model, as we call it in social studies. I'll give you a definition, an example and a non-example. then we'll talk synonyms.

I started by going to the ever trusty dictionary.com and got this as a definition: having little or no concern for oneself, esp. with regard to fame, position, money, etc.; unselfish. there is a little scripture in the bible that reminds me of a story that I heard in sunday school - of a hen gathering her chicks under her wing during a barn fire and giving her life for her chicks [matthew 23:37 reminded me of this story]. like I said in my last post - the "put yourself in front of the moving bus" kind of love. these, in my opinion, would be an example of selfless love. a love that has no concern for oneself. an unselfish love. this example is one that transcends culture and time. the story of ultimate sacrifice. the giving of one's life for another. and, there are nothing wrong with these stories. they exemplify the divine. philippians 2:6-8 says this:

6Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
7but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!

selfless love is divine. well then how the heck am I suppose to get even close with my wee efforts in love?? oh, and I found this just a few verses ahead that drove the point home for me just a bit: "do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. each of you should look not only to your own interests but also to the interests of others." very interesting, considering my non-example coming right...NOW!

let's get to the non-example. I am going to be really vague here, because I don't have a clue who reads this. and it is a true story. when push comes to shove, it's about not loving a child for reasons of personal pride, all in the name of the same divine who chose to love me so much that he was "obedient to death" on my behalf. there are stories everywhere of personal pride and selfishness that so invade a person's heart that they cannot love in anyway that remotely mimics selflessness.

so in all this I come back to a series of words: selfish, proud, justified, egotistical, prejudice, self-centered. and a series of words that describe the woman I would like to become: selfless, humble, non-judgmental, giving, including, christ-centered. if selfless love is a picture of the divine, then I want be a mom, a sister, a daughter, a wife, a friend who exemplifies this not just under extraordinary circumstances, but in ordinary, daily existence.

and in this, I'll tell you a story about my dad, one that I will tell at his funeral [hopefully 25+ years from now!]. I remember being about 13 or 14 years old and my dad and I had a HUGE fight in the car on the way home from somewhere. we were driving south on st albert trail and there was a huge sign on the corner across the trail from the old dairy queen [if you're old-school st albert, you know where I'm talking about!]. he swore it said "yard sale". I swore it said "garage sale". and we had a HUGE fight about it. needless to say, by the time we got home, he was yelling at me, I was yelling back. doors were slammed and feet were stomped. I went to my room and cried. about an hour later, my dad knocked on my bedroom door and asked to come in. and he apologized for his behaviour. he owned his part and said sorry. and in that moment, I learned a valuable lesson - as an adult, you can put away your need for "being right" and "winning the fight" with your crazy 14 year old daughter and just be selfless in the ordinary daily existence that is our lives. he put aside his pride and ego and just made things right and in that moment, showed me what selfless love looks like when it's in human relationships.

it's in those moments where ego and pride are shelved, and your child comes to you broken and alone. it's in those moments where selfless acts are done in secret as to protect a friends reputation. it's in those moment where we choose to do the right thing and defend a sibling without thought of retaliation. it's taking the time to love as christ loves us. unconditionally. no strings attached.

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