“And God said “Love your enemy,” and I obeyed Him and loved myself.” – Khalil Gibran
Yup. It means love everybody and everything. Love the ugly bits about yourself. Love the bad situation, too. Don’t resist, and don’t fight it. Love it all, all the time, because it is all from God.
Easier said than done.
I keep reminding myself of this. I keep reminding myself that God is in charge, and everything, even the stuff that I think is bad and terrible and crazy, is from God. I keep reminding myself to be thankful about everything.
I think Jesus had it easy. He died before things got really hard. He died before he had to deal with in-laws, and nursing homes, and do not resuscitate orders, and probate.
Actually, it would be easier if I was handling all of this, because I’ve done it before. I know how to detach myself from the situation and just do it. But I’ve intentionally separated myself from all this because these aren’t my parents. I believe that it is the job of the adult child to take care of their parents, not the wife.
I’m trying not to micromanage. I’m trying to stay out of it. It isn’t easy. It is like watching a baby bird – will it fly? Will it crash?
And there is nothing I can do except watch.
And then I think about the guy I know whose wife died from cancer. He’s faking it, and not really taking care of himself. I want him to do well, but he has to do it on his own. If I make food for him, or remind him to eat, or tell him that he needs to eat more vegetables and exercise and stop drinking caffeine and skip all sugar if he wants to stay balanced – I’m not letting him stand on his own.
He could crash. He could sink into depression. He could kill himself.
These are very real things.
And both of these stories affect me. I live with one, and work with one. If they crash, I have to pick up the pieces. That leaves more for me to do. It isn’t really empathy. It is self-preservation.
I’m trying to remember that God is in charge. I’m trying to remember that people need to ask for help first. Unsolicited advice is never heeded. Jesus didn’t make a habit of going up to people and healing them without them asking for it first.
Jonah gave thanks in the belly of the whale too.
This has to be what it is like to watch a child learn to walk. You want to catch them when they stumble, to prevent them from falling and hitting their heads. You don’t want them to get hurt. But pain is an awesome teacher. And we get stronger if we do things ourselves.
I have to trust that this feeling I’m having is part of God’s plan too. I don’t know how it will be used, but I have to trust.
Because the alternative isn’t very healthy.