Somehow we think we can get close to things and not be changed by them. We are warned not to conform to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of our mind, and somehow forget that the less we constantly check our thoughts and hearts, the more likely we are to conform to the lowest common point in ourselves and our environments: fear, doubt, wrath, bitterness, despair… The reason we naturally desire the better things in this life, that is the opposite of the base desires, is because they are not part of who we are, but something taken long ago that we must seek out: much like the prodigal returning home.
When we love someone, we want to know about that person and understand them; we learn to care about what they care about, and love what they love. If we say we love something, but don’t seek it out and understand it for the sake of itself, we simply do not love it. In the same, if something professes love to care for us, but does not demonstrate it, it neither loves nor cares for us. Love is the only human emotion that must be demonstrated in order to endure – time will wear away earthly affection if not given stability, whether the demonstration is to serve, love, or simply pray for another.
True love does not seek its own, in that it seeks to love the other for the sake of the other. Self-seeking love is only manipulation that grows in the soil of affection; it is a false and destructive thing. The wounds that typically last are those that injure our pride or self-confidence, as they have more to do with us than with them. This does not mean we diminish feelings in an unsalvageable relationship simply to play our part as the better, but we regard it as it should be regarded when we know it is well in our own hearts – peace and forgiveness, and in this we find something deeper than healing: mercy.
Most of my friends are young married couples with children. This is fun to me because I enjoy kids and it gives me time to learn how to interact with them. It’s also really nice to have guys I can hang out with and girls I can bounce ideas off of and get advice (typically advice about girls, but other things too). I have come to care about their families as my own because I have come to care about them, and listening to them talk about their love for their families has reached through and sparked something in me – to see these people who would otherwise be strangers as they do, and to want to understand them. Or even just friends and their passions in general, to learn to celebrate things in other people.
Mostly I think of God: partially with love and partially with conviction, and completely with a thankful heart. I cannot truly approach God and not experience a desire to be conformed to Him: in worship, in service, in praise, and though I don’t always understand these things, more and more I find my prayer: I want to love what You love and see what You see, and I think this is what is meant by renewing our minds. The conviction comes when I realize how self-centered I am even in the light of such a great love, and how often I am so unmoved by it – or can overlook it entirely. This is the place where my life and my hope come together: I lay my burdens down and am traveling light, that is, simply to the reflection of something more.
“Keep your eyes on Christ, that in beholding you may become changed into the image of God.” – The Interpreter, Pilgrim’s Progress