Friday, March 20, 2015


"When love chooses, it chooses with a perfect sensitivity for the unique beauty of the chosen one, and it chooses without making anyone else feel excluded." -Henri Nouwen
This passage has stuck with me and I think about it often. I think about it in the context of the people I meet or how I deal with my children. I've had people wonder why someone like me would befriend someone like them. I've never really thought much of myself as a superior to someone else just because I have a doctorate. I think in getting a doctorate I actually realized how little I really know. And maybe that's why I don't struggle with that and so I'm thankful to try to always see a person for who they are.
But I'm not that awesome at it. I can definitely say some very hurtful things especially to the people I love the most. Because I know them better it's easier to find flaws and to attack rather than love. It's easier to compare instead of seeing uniqueness.
The exclusion bit of this quote really strikes at me. I remember a distinct childhood exclusion experience where in grade school the girls of the class singled out a girl each month to make her life hell. It might have been okay to be on the bullying side, but once it turned to you being bullied it was awful. It changed a lot about how I saw people and their actions after that year. I no longer cared about fitting in in the same way and honestly as awful as it was to live in thankful for that experience because it showed me what love is not.
Nouwen discusses at length in Life of the Beloved how God really created you and I uniquely. It seems so unfathomable to me at times because it seems like we as a society always want to jump on the similarities bandwagon despite what we might say. We want people to be like us, but if they were all like us what would this world be?
I've thought about this previously in the sense of vocation, and I've definitely struggled when folks choose to live out their vocation differently. I'll go ahead and say it and you can hate me for this but I would love more stay at home moms in the world. I want this probably for more selfish reasons than anything, like having other big people to talk to during the day and close by children to whom my kids could be buddies. But the reality of it is that the world doesn't work that way entirely. And funny as it is, I learn from those who do these things differently than me. It isn't loving to say that all moms need to be at home, because that's not true for all cases. It's also not right for me to exclude myself from the working crowd either just because I'm not one of them.
I guess ultimately what I'm trying to say is that this nugget of wisdom from Life of the Beloved has a lot of depth to it. Hopefully, it being stuck in my mind so much will help me to choose to love in the way that is really love and not how the culture sees it. Because as much as I learned from it, I don't ever want to relive that experience from grade school and I don't think you would either.

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