I am reminded of the story about the pastor who carried a glass of water and asked how heavy it was. People were guessing the weight, and then the Pastor said that the weight depended upon how long the glass was held. The longer it was held, the heavier the glass became. She continued saying, this is also true with the pain we carry from anger, disappointments, etc. The longer we carry them, the heavier they become.
What is also true is that the longer we carry them, the more insidious a part of us they become and the harder it is to separate our precious, beloved soul from the pain we carry. They become part of who we are, and affect us in ways we may be unaware of. They can surprise us and we react to the past pain in present moments when it may or may not be appropriate.
Pain is important to learn from. I was kicking myself yesterday because I put some fresh meat in a greased frying pan, and the hot oil splashed up onto the tender part of the inside of my wrist. As I was going to the cold water, I had to laugh at myself. How many years have I been cooking? How many times have I burnt myself, on oil, on the oven rack, on a hot pan . . .? So many decades of burning myself in the kitchen in so many ways possible, and I still haven’t learned . . . I had to laugh and shake my head, and remember “Sighs too great for words…” Not learning from pain can cause us a lot of pain . . . physically and emotionally.
So I have as the title to this Blog, “How To Love And Be Loved By Everyone” because it seems like the kindest thing to live a life of grace – and it seems to be what Jesus wishes for us. The real world is full of people who are carrying their glasses of pain with them, and we never know what might set us off, or what we might do to set others off. And it would be so lovely if we could somehow set those glasses down, forever. I sometimes think I can do that, and then suddenly, I see I have picked it back up, unawares.
The best I can think of, as a response to “How To Love And Be Loved By Everyone” is that it honestly is impossible to do. Even the most beloved son of God was incapable of being loved by everyone, but he seemed amazingly capable of loving everyone, which is why he lives on to this day, which is what makes him God. But he wanted to encourage humanity to keep trying ~ to make it our goal ~ because trying to love everyone is the most productive way to self discovery and self awareness, and self discovery and self awareness is the most intimate way to discover the God parts of our being.
Knowing our pain, being aware of those people and events which have caused us pain, is one way to begin to let go of the glass, and to free us to live in joy with God. Setting the glasses of hurt down on the alter of God’s mercy frees us from the burden, and can free the other as well, and be an opening to reconciliation and the amazing power which comes from that. Living in joy with God . . . begets more joy, and the world need all of that they can get!