This picture of two little girls looking at the contents of a purse and a box is where I choose to begin to answer the question I set for the day:
What does it mean to be responsible with love?
The child on the left is my youngest daughter who loves boxes (especially as gifts). You can surely count on her opening the box to show the most random things: heart shaped walnut shells, red feathers, pearl stones from somebody’s sandscapes, etc. As Lucy can be protective over her secrets inside the yellow music box, I called her over from where she was standing to give permission to there child on the right to explore the world inside the yellow German music box I gave her for Christmas.
How many times have you been in a situation with another person where you know such love for them but are completely lost in a different feeling? The moment has pained you, confused you, or otherwise made you spellbound backwards?
From these moments and in these situations, comes the planning – “the next time we talk” – “what do we do” – “I know how I feel but what about you” type of conversations. And we get really super good at predicting endings. A lot of times, we predict endings that compound the feeling of that moment with some finality or devastation. I have said this before in one of my favorite posts about grace: hypothetical sadness chokes hope.
My two things are this, and then I’m going to wrap it up and get ready for a busy week:
1 – I wanted to give Lucy the opportunity to decide whether or not to show and share what was in the box. She chose to open it up but there was a strong possibility she was going to say “no” and I was not going to do any “ohhh but Lucy she really wants to see!”. If her answer was no, her answer was no. And so I think asking and allowing the decision to be another person’s is a great way to be responsible with love. Your feelings of love should drive you to be assertive, set boundaries, “be you” while also giving others the grace to say their peace. It seems to me that if you were the one asked to speak or make up your mind, what I described is the relief you would want in that moment – so I say offer it to them.
(NOTE: If, when prompted to speak up and make your mind, you really would want the other to challenge your decision in order to make you change your mind because somehow you think that might bond you and get you to come to something that you actually want, please buy this book and start at chapter two: “Assertiveness Skills”.)
The thing number 2 – to get a little Biblical on you, is to be responsible with love is to be resourceful. I really think that most people (I know I do for the most part) think we walk into situations and create, that we conjur up the vision, and we execute. Ahhh but though we have “a view” we do not have “the vision”. So what does it look like to “go Moses” (reference Exodus 33) on the situation and believe that God has already been wherever we are going?? Not that fate is decided, but that a divine precense has gone ahead and laid out tools and hints, clues and sparks that could all serve as catalysts for some kick ass manifestations?
What does it look like to believe that you don’t go into that conversation trying to make anything inparticular happen?
What does it mean to believe that God works through you and his will plays out in the discernment of others?
How much freedom do you feel knowing that you don’t actually have to do anything but sense for peace and patience and kindness and if you don’t find them, bring them forward?
Do you know what it means to be the precense of Christ?
Do you understand that to be responsible with love you have to be willing to be resourceful? Tap into the strengths of others, bring them forward, and love completely from a place of grace.
Be both brave and smart.
Being the relief to others that you yourself want to feel is a pretty basic first step here. No matter where you are on the consciousness spectrum, you could start this tomorrow by softening sarcastic blows and ceasing to challenge every decision your spouse tries to make. (I recently heard a woman talking about how she jested her husband “there is NO WAY you actually want that for dinner!” – that equals an easy first place to begin growth!)
That being said, being able to bend the mind to where you see difficult decisions as opportunities to step up and take the broader view rather than grow weary trying to understand the internal engine or to look under the rocks of another is a bit more difficult…
So I say, close their hood – put down the rocks and ask yourself this:
Why try to decide what to have for dinner tonight based on what you or another person might want to eat six months from now?
Remember, to me, being responsible with love (especially when problem-solving) is simply asking and allowing the decision to stand and letting go of whatever power you claim or wish to have over the future. Live present, love uncontained. (More on my beliefs on bonding coming up in the future..)
Check this snippet out that I read today off a new friend’s page and have a great night..
“Carl Jung: All the greatest and most important problems of life are fundamentally insoluble… They can never be solved, but only outgrown. This ‘outgrowing’ proved on further investigation to require a new level of consciousness. Some higher or wider interest appeared on the patient’s horizon, and through this broadening of his or her outlook the insoluble problem lost its urgency. It was not solved logically in its own terms but faded when confronted with a new and stronger life urge.”