Love everything. Really?

“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.

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Poem – Sad birds

Not every baby bird
learns how to fly.

Not every story
has a storybook ending.

Sometimes the ending
is the ending
and not a beginning.

It is healthy to know this.

It is part of knowing
what is,
of accepting
the truth.

Sometimes people
can’t
won’t
don’t.

Sometimes things break
and stay broken.

Cold Call dating two

When you go to apply for a job do you just walk in and say “Hey, you need to hire me”? Or do you get to know the place? Do you try to find out if they have the products that you like to buy? Do they have ethical practices that are in line with what you agree with? If so, then you should work there. If not, then no.

You should never just walk in off the street, having no knowledge of the place, and try to get a job there. You both will be miserable.

A similar amount of effort should put in if you are trying to find a girlfriend. Get to know her as a person. A boyfriend and girlfriend relationship is entirely different than knowing someone as a friend. There is a lot more to it.

Both getting a job and getting a girlfriend are big commitments.

There is a connection between retail and dating. Think of trying to date as if you are the product, and you are trying to sell yourself. You are trying to get them to buy you. Why would someone be interested if they don’t know anything about you?

Plus, girls want to think that they are special. They want to know that you are choosing them because they people and not just because they are female. Show some discretion and discernment.

One of the worst things you can do is ask someone out on a date when you have just met them. There might have been a chance you two would do well together, but because you jumped ahead a step, you blew it.

One of the best ways of getting to know someone is to be part of the same kinds of groups. Join a club. See who is there that looks interesting. And when I say “looks interesting” I don’t mean “looks beautiful”. Looks aren’t everything, and they fade fast. Look for someone who laughs at the things you laugh at. Look for someone who supports the same causes as you.

Is she fun and funny? Or does she seem needy and nervous? Is she helpful, or does she always need help?

Getting to know someone’s personality takes a while, and that is a good thing. If you are going to be in a long-term relationship with someone, you need to take the time to get to know them well.

Asking someone out on the first day you meet them is not the way to do it.

Sometimes it feels like guys are just shooting fish in a barrel when they are looking for a girlfriend. No aiming required. They will take whatever they can get. The results are messy in both situations.

Here’s one of many stories I can share about a dating attempt gone wrong. I’m in a water aerobics class that is pretty difficult. An older guy shows up. He is probably in his 70s, and most of us are in our 40s. In the first ten minutes of class he is already asking for dates, hinting openly that he wants a sex partner. Nobody knew him, and he didn’t know them.

Why would we, or he, want to have sex with a stranger? This is a very intimate and personal experience. Either person could end up with a really scary partner. Actually, it is pretty safe to say they would end up with a scary partner because someone who shows that level of casualness about sex is pretty sketchy.

It makes me wonder if he would buy a house just because the garden is nice. There are pretty flowers in the front yard, but the house is falling apart inside. The plumbing is wrecked, there is mold everywhere, the kitchen is gutted, the roof is falling in and there are raccoons and possums living inside – but hey, the garden is nice – I’ll buy it.

No reasonable person would buy a house like that. Likewise, no reasonable person should ask a woman for a date and know nothing about her other than she is a pretty woman with a nice smile.

The funny part? They guy didn’t even make it through the class. He lasted about 20 minutes and then he had to get out because it was too difficult for him. If he can’t make it through a water aerobics class, he certainly couldn’t have survived sex.

What he should have done is come to the class for at least a month, and gotten to know the personalities of the class members by talking to them. He should get to know the women as people, and not as women. He should have gotten to know them with no goal in mind, because having the goal of dating can make objectivity difficult.