Monday, February 05, 2007

The toughest love you'll ever know

The toughest love you will ever know is learning to love someone who hates you -- tough yet that is what God asked us to do. The following excerpt from a book I wrote for the convent is about that tough love...

"Tolerance, for me, was the first step in learning how to live with myself in peace amidst a world of hatred. The beginning point was to be resolute, and even grimly determined when necessary, to be happy in my identity as a woman when the world told me on a daily basis…sometimes strangers screaming it in my face…that I was not one. At times this meant holding on to peace of mind with firm grip when it so easily slips away. Try living in peace when others hate you instantly and make it a point to tell you so. What I had to do was find a balancing point between anger and pacifism. Turning the other cheek doesn’t mean being a doormat.

As I indicated in the introduction to the book. The first, and perhaps most difficult, was the process of finding myself. This is was a long and arduous process that I went through more than once, before I found the woman I am today…a bride of Christ. Even when I found the person I was meant to be, there were many, many people who will dearly loved to take that happy, strong person away from me. It was very easy to lose myself, especially in the eyes of someone else.
Once you find that person, hold on to who you are with all your strength. Know that whoever you are, you are a child of God and are loved by him. You are the best you there can ever be. The balancing act is a matter of never and I mean NEVER letting anyone take that strong, happy person away from you…no matter what comes your way. This means not letting you take it away from you as well…through pride, stubbornness, depression or one of the other myriad reasons for losing yourself.

Let people dish out whatever hatred they want; I have learned to never be afraid to stand up for myself. Don’t be afraid to confront the hate, the stressors in your life, all those who will revile you. Simply, look the source of the pain, person, place, emotion, spiritual enemy, whatever…in the eye and tell them that they are wrong…no matter how desperately they need for you to be someone else, you are going to be who you are. They and all of the rest of creation will have to simply adjust to it…or go find some other planet to live on. Then turn the cheek again and let them discover that the abuse they wish to dish out doesn’t make any difference. Don’t misunderstand that this means allowing anger to control your life. What you are controlling is THEIR ANGER…whether THEY LIKE IT OR NOT. It is a matter of being the willow instead of the Oak. The willow bends (turns the other cheek) but remains firmly rooted where it is.
Saint Therese of Lissieux was a Carlmelite nun. She once described the process she had to go through in trying to love some the other nuns who mistreated her."

"I saw I didn’t love them as God loves them. Ah! I understand now that charity consists in bearing with the faults of others, in not being surprised at their weakness, in being edified by the smallest acts of virtue we see them practice."

- Saint Therese of Lissieux
"The Story of a Soul"

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