Moss-covered Monk

Moss-covered Monk

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Sunday, December 23, 2012

What I've Learned

 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,  so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.  For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

‘ Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, that your days may be prolonged and that it may go well with you on the land which the LORD your God gives you.

  The love of the parents "can never be compensated even if one were to carry one's parents on the shoulder without putting them down for a hundred or a thousand years"

How do I learn? I watch, I listen, I sense. I grew up seeing the faith through the eyes of adults, but I did not learn to be faithful through the mimicry of others. I found a core of belief that passed through my outer shell, picking its way through the accumulated angst to settle in my soul. At the time, in my young age, I could not place label upon the beliefs. Faith had found a home, but I would need years to learn how to live it.

Through the trials and tribulations I have found myself in, the presence of divinity, of purity, never entirely left. I was confused, despondent, and distracted from the Truth; taken for granted, the life that I had forged seemed less than desirable. I went through the darkness, and again, was reminded of the light. Unwittingly, I had turned away from illumination, not able to realize that the answers I sought were already waiting, inside my soul.

The darkness and the light were both necessary and integral to the growth I achieved. I found His message, not in a book or in the pew, but in the reverberations of a life lived poorly to that point. I had not placed myself in a position to be a being for others, I had remained closed-off, believing I was cut from a different mold than the rest of humanity. This fallacy found an unwitting believer in my younger self, but the love and support I received have allowed me to re-imagine my place and purpose in the world.

Jesus is the exemplar. He is the model upon which I have set my course, and his love for humanity provides the blueprint to bliss. I once believed that his message was unattainable. For the vast majority of us, as universal love is oft-proclaimed but rarely expressed. To not simply love your family, your friends, and your neighbors, but to love all of His creation, from the smallest cellular organisms to the most complex, man. His message was not to show love on Sundays, or during Christmas, or Lent, or any other specific time or instance. His message was to love unconditionally, independently of reciprocation, and free of human determinations.

I have set myself to love. There is no distinction to be made for the other, no process required to prove that love has been earned. That does not mean that trust should be extended to all, without care of consequence. It simply means that I shall not judge my fellow man as more evil or sinful than myself, as I am not the determinant of piety or orthodoxy. I leave judgement at the door, allowing that which is His to be His, while the human quotient is calculated independently. I cannot decide which path is most perfect for all people, but I have found the one which is most righteous for myself.

His message is meant to be experienced, not studied. I will continue to learn, as I live. As I live for Him, I am refreshed. Love makes me whole.