Sunday, October 29, 2006

A QUIET DAY



I love this time of year. My home is surrounded by wonderful Japanese Maples that are beautiful from spring until fall. As you can see, it has been a good fall for them show off their brilliant colors. I have had a day full of quiet alone time. My day has been full of reading, praying and thinking. This is a great spot to sit for all these activities. I hope all who happen to stop by here are finding an ever deepening longing to know the One who brings meaning to life even while the storms rage all around.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

THE FALSE SELF/THE TRUE SELF

I've been reading some writtings of a Franciscan Brother over the past week and have been challenged and encouraged. Having the false self exposed is a little bit painful. Even so, I want more. The false self seems to be the one that is first to respond in most situations. Especially with those closest to us. Why is it harder to act graciously with those we see most often? For those of us that are married extending grace seems at times to be difficult at best. At least at first gaze. Defenses seem to go up and the battle for our sacred turf of false self is on.

I have been married long enough now you would think I would have learned that starting out in the True Self would always be better. I am very aware of how much better living in the True Self feels so why don't I start out there all the time?

Here is how Richard Rohr says it:

"The first gaze is seldom compassionate. It is too busy weighing and feeling itself: "How will this effect me?" or "How does my self-image demand that I react to this?" or "How can I get back in control of this situation?" This leads to an implosion, a self preoccupation that cannot enter into communion with the other or the moment. In other words, we first feel our feelings before we can relate to the situation and the emotion of the other. Only after God has taught us how to live "undefended" can we immediately stand with and for the other, and for the moment. It takes alot of practice."

In marrage relationships it seems the false self always feels it is it's responsibility to fix the problem. To some, that looks like running from the relationship. They might say, "this is broken already and too painful." To others, fixing it means focusing on the other person's mess. These approaches always strengthen the false self. In the one attacking and the one being attacked. It will always cause deeper hurt for everyone involved.

Unless we can get to the True Self, disfunction will remain disfunction. But when both people involved can find their way to living in their True Self it is a most beautiful thing. That doesn't mean it's not messy. We are all on a journey TOWARDS transformation. It's a process. One thing I am coming to understand is this. We all are disfunctional because there is a mixture of light and dark in us all. If we are loving each other out of the True Self we get to watch the disfunction being unwound in the ones we love. And in that process our disfunction starts to be unwound also.

GRACE MAKES GRACIOUS PEOPLE. Grace is especially for, or should I be as bold to say exclusively for, those suffering from disfunction caused by having lived out of the false self for too long. There is always hope for those struggling with disfunction. If there is not, we are all dead in the water because there is not one of us or no relationship without at least a degree of it. Hope comes by the way of the True Self not the false self. Only when we are learning to abide in God can the True Self win out over the false self.

GRACE MAKES BEAUTY OUT OF UGLY THINGS...........ONLY WHEN WE ARE IN OUR TRUE SELF, (which can only happen if I am abiding in Him)CAN WE LIVE GRACIOUS LIVES