“So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
At the heart and art of love is compassion, service and ultimately sacrifice. There is not one day that love is not with us; or available to us; available to be given away by us. Now sacrifice is the least respected course of action in a society that demands that self-reward—self-gratification must serve as the highest value; and yet in some way it remains the most noble (albeit unbelievable) of all human actions. The model of course is the Cross:
“He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him.”
But (and this is the hard part) the decision to save oneself; is the loss of other selves; the irony is that we cannot find our “selves”, unless we lose our selves to something greater than ourselves. Our selves will one day depart this existence; what then can we call our life, if it did not generate many good results for the world!
“The greatest happiness in life is in knowing that others love us, for ourselves, or rather, they love us in spite of ourselves.” –Victor Hugo
The great challenge is that we are called to love actual people; and therein lays the struggle; people (including us) are not always “lovable,” or even emotionally available to be loved; and yet they never cease to be worthy of love. If God loves humans; then why can’t we?
Selfishness is the mother of self-hurt that ultimately leads to the hurt of others. If we cannot cease to engage in self-hurt; than we cannot stop from hurting others; for their presence reminds our selfish-self of what is missing from inside of us; and brings up what we misunderstand as to what is really important outside of ourselves. If we really think about it our suffering is not caused by the other (no matter how badly they behave); rather they are acting as a mirror, reflecting everything we feel is missing from our lives.
The great lie that leads to despair and anger, is that we could possibly be “alone” on a planet that is home to billions of people, who are facing billions of challenges to becoming fully human. The only possible problem is that there is so much work to do, and too little of us.
Waiting on love, is like waiting for a bus that will never arrive; nor is love the destination that the bus promises to deliver us. Love is a good-friend, a God-Friend that never leaves us, or forsakes us; “in spite of ourselves”!