“If we don’t allow God to address the deep levels of our attachment to ourselves and to our programs of happiness, we will put into the world the negative elements of our self-centeredness, adding to the conflicts and the social disasters that come from over identifying with the biases and prejudices of our particular culture and upbring.” Fr Thomas Keating
I decided to continue with more from Henri Nouwen on this simple yet challenging subject.
“Often we speak about love as if it is a feeling. But if we wait for a feeling of love before loving, we may never learn to love well. The feeling of love is beautiful and life-giving, but our loving cannot be based in that feeling. To love is to think, speak, and act according to the spiritual knowledge that we are infinitely loved by God and called to make that love visible in this world.
“Mostly we know what the loving thing to do is. When we ‘do’ love, even if others are not able to respond with love, we will discover that our feelings catch up with our acts.” Henri Nouwen
Although I do not recall the specific incidents from my childhood, I do have memories of disobeying my parents, and my subsequent attempt to hide from them, physically and emotionally, because I had not done what they had asked me to do. I remember the terrible “lostness” of my intimacy with them. Those memories help me better understand the story of Adam and Eve. They walked intimately with God, until they chose to follow their own desires and disobeyed His command to not eat the fruit of the Tree of LIfe.
How often do we choose to follow our own pleasure/will, starting with parents, and then with God? And yet, He never leaves us. He abides with us, in us, still seeking intimacy with us. In the Revelation, the last Book of the New Testament, Christ is still there, seeking us. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.” We may have closed the door on Christ, but He still comes to that door and knocks, willing to share a meal, as a friend. How amazing that God still reaches out to cross the barriers we erect!