Love Is Not Always Easy

Meditations in Motion

First things first. Regular readers of my blog know my hubby Bill and I spent some time in Spain earlier this fall. When we returned home, we did the laundry, tried our best to adjust to the six-hour time difference, then three days later, we packed for another nine-day trip, a beach vacation with eight of our closest friends in South Carolina.

Let me just say this – I have now learned that writing is a discipline, just like running. When you don’t do it for a while, it becomes easier to keep on not doing it.

I procrastinated writing this post because I was unsure how to begin. Writing after an extended absence feels a little bit shaky, but I have learned that just showing up, in this case at my laptop, is the most difficult part, so here goes.

Meditations in Motion

By Nicholas A. Tonelli from Northeast Pennsylvania, USA – https://www.flickr.com/photos/nicholas_t/3594274494/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6951488

Bill and I went to running club this week, but only I ran. The day before we completed our final long run before the Marine Corps Marathon, a 20-miler. During this long run, Bill developed blisters on the bottoms of his feet, so his taper will be a complete respite from running in the hopes that his poor feet will heal in time for the race.

Our run this week was along the Enola Low-Grade Rail Trail, a very flat, packed cinder path with gorgeous views of the Susquehanna River. I wound up running by myself, racing the approaching sunset.

Meditations in Motion

Overhead first one, then two bald eagles screeched. I could hear rustling in the woods surrounding the trail where chipmunks scurried and squirrels twitched their tails on the trunks of giant oak trees in their classic “threat” posture. My mind began to wander.

I thought first about the Bible. I am certainly not a Biblical scholar and I have no problem admitting that there are many passages which I don’t understand. Some I even find troubling. There is one short phrase, however, to which I return over and over for its truth, simplicity, and hope: “God is love”.

“God is love” is what I consider when another driver cuts me off in traffic. “God is love” when a friend fails to respond to a text or phone call. “God is love” when a customer service person is rude.

“If God is love,” I thought, “what is hate?”

It’s something worthwhile to consider; there is plenty of hate to go around these days. Hate exists between people of opposing political persuasions, dissimilar religions, different skin colors.

At times, it almost seems as though people are proud of their hate, as though hate is something to be waved around, venerated, and bragged about.

In order for hate to exist, I believe two factors must be present.

The first is fear. This is not an original concept. Thinkers as disparate as Gandhi (“The enemy is fear. We think it is hate, but it is really fear.” – Mahatma Gandhi) and The Bard (“In time we hate that which we often fear.” – William Shakespeare) have expressed similar views.

Meditations in Motion

In brain scans, both hate and fear seem to originate from the same region as the one in which evaluating another person and predicting their behavior is done. Both are necessary human adaptations. Yes, fear and judging other people have helped us to survive for millennia, but they also have some negative byproducts, such as loathing.

The second factor, other than fear, needed for hate to exist is a lack of self-acceptance. Most hate begins as a kernel of disgust at our core, disgust directed at one’s self.

The attributes which we find most repulsive in others are the very ones we are most afraid to discover in ourselves. How much easier it is then, to despise and judge others than to think of ourselves as “bad“?

Hate is clever. It knows it is unattractive. We don’t like to put hate on display in its unadulterated form. We sometimes disguise hate as self-righteousness, as though somehow the object of our contempt deserves antipathy.

For those of us who believe “God is love” as I do, what can be done? We need to turn the tide, to not allow hate to become commonplace or acceptable.

We must look for signs of vulnerability towards incipient hate in ourselves.

Do you feel sanctimonious when comparing your religious principles or depth of knowledge to others’? Don’t.

When acquaintances make disparaging remarks directed at people from another race or cultural background, either explicitly or implicitly, are you enticed to contribute a similar pronouncement of your own? Hold out.

Are you tempted to leave a snarky comment in response to a friend’s political post you disagree with? Resist temptation. (This one might be hardest for me.)

If each of us does our utmost to make hatred stop with us, we can halt the escalation of evil. We all have a part to play.

Love demands no less.

Meditations in Motion

Yes, love. Even for the guy in the red Toyota I was following who refused to pull up into the intersection to turn left through three light changes while I waited.

I didn’t say it would be easy.

 

I am linking with Random-osity for Little Things Thursdays, Crystal Storms for Heart Encouragement, Lyli Dunbar for Faith on Fire,  Fairytales and Fitness for Friday 5, Morgan’s Milieu for Post, Comment, Love, Esme Salon for Senior Salon, and Knit by God’s Hand for Thankful Thursdays.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

80 comments

  1. wow – he waited through three light changes? yikes- that did take some patience – and your thoughts here are seasoned with some years of experience and your godly take on the topic.

    for me – I know that it is Christ inside of me that allows me to love and carry this kindness. I am not trying to sound trite (and I can hear someone saying, duh…. of course it is God in you that does that) but it is amazing to me when I was filled with love for someone who did hurtful things to us years back. They became saved and I guess I also saw that new person in Christ. This does not mean we are doormats – go no – but love does cover a multitude of missing the mark behaviors – and a soft answer turns away wrath.
    Also, when you know that “hurt people hurt people” – well that helps me not take things so personal.
    and blessed the man who is not easily offended – eh?
    and hope your husband’s wounds heal for the race…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha! Actually, I didn’t have to honk; the car behind me honked for me! 🙂 I heartily agree. I worry that especially with the upcoming election, media posts are going to get even more mean-spirited.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Laurie, it isn’t always easy to deny hate it’s access to our lives, but reciting “God is love” is such a positive and cleansing step in the right direction. For me, remembering that all of us are created in God’s image helps tremendously when I feel on the verge of making some unkind, unnecessary observation of actions with which I don’t agree. Jesus told us to treat others as we want to be treated. That’s the bottom line, always and everywhere. And when people treat us unfairly, let us pray for them sincerely instead of lashing out.
    Wonderful thoughts here, my friend. Blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hate is sneaky and clever. We need to be on the lookout at all times. I love your idea of remembering how each of us is created in God’s image to shut out hate. Thank you! Blessings to you too!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. God is Love was the topic in my Bible study today! We talked about how God gives His Love to us despite our imperfections. And I agree that hate of others is usually a reflection of what we hate in ourselves. We can never love as perfectly as God can (hence road rage!) but we can try!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Well I hope that Bill’s feet heal up quickly! How did that 20 miler go otherwise?

    God may be love, but we are human, not God, and therefore we love, we hate, we get angry when we know we shouldn’t . . . . I try to send out love to other drivers when I’m driving. Thankfully we live in a small city, and while there are plenty of crazy drivers to go around, it’s not like it was when we lived in Austin, a much larger city (and even larger in the 10 years since we left it).

    I’m not saying that I’m always successful. But love takes practice, too, don’t you think? Especially when it’s trying.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am nervous about Bill’s feet. I hope they heal quickly too. The 20-miler was actually pretty easy, since we tried to do it at the same pace our 78-year-old friend predicts his marathon pace will be. A lot of walking was involved.

      I wish you could send out some love to my hubby when he drives. He gets so agitated!

      I do agree – love takes practice. I think you should get plenty of practice sending out your love in yoga classes!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Welcome home, friend! What adventures you’ve soaked up, what stories you have to tell.

    Sometimes it’s good to put our laptops aside and go live life unencumbered by posts and deadlines and connecting.

    Maybe our relationships and our faith and our writing end up richer for it.

    So good to see you again …

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Linda. It does feel good to come home and get back to my regular routine again! I think our experiences do enrich our storytelling and writing. So good to hear from you!

      Like

  6. Its funny reading this this morning because I came in my office & said “I have garage rage”… we have a convention downtown & people dont know how to function in these parking garages… I could have read this before I was yelling & giving looks to people in cars this morning 🙂 LOL

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Nice post Laurie 😀, a good long blast of the horn would have been good for that driver they were probably on the phone and not paying attention to driving like they should have been, I see that all the time.

    ❤️✌️
    BY FOR NOW

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Glad you are back! I have had a few thoughts about demonstrating love and patience while traveling through Europe this week!! Hope Bills blisters heal quickly. It would suck to miss out on the Marine Corps….such a goodie. Best part is seeing all of the Marines everywhere 😬.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Really interesting post. I know when I at my most hateful it is because I am scared. We have too much hate in this world but we can all be strong individuals and show love rather than hate and it is amazing how when we show the ways others follow #PoCoLo

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I have been on the receiving of many a snarky comment. It’s hurtful & rude of the ones who do it, but I do resist the urge to snark back. It is not easy, but I refuse to give in & play their game. I always try to remember that everyone is fighting a battle of some sort, and it’s not my job to judge them for how they’re treating others. Sometimes showing love by keeping silent is the best option 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. You’ve had a whirlwind year Laurie and now you have this marathon ahead of you. I hope Bill’s blister’s heal … blisters are the bane of any avid walker or runner … well, that and shin splints. I have to say these walking shoes have never given me blisters and fit like slippers, so I hope they never quite selling this style. Fingers crossed everything is a “go” for both of you. As to the driver and other things that are annoying, it is so difficult sometimes to resist a snappy comeback, but we stand down and take the high road (again and again).

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is a great way to describe my year, Linda – a whirlwind. Bill’s blisters are still bothering him. I’m starting to get nervous. I hope they heal too!

      It’s really tempting to respond to rude drivers, but we don’t want to get pulled down to that level. Exactly right – we take the high road!

      Liked by 1 person

      • The high road in life and on the road … too many people get angry these days and will shoot you if you say something or make a gesture. Mouth shut, hands on the wheel! I hope Bill can still participate- try those blister bandages … has Bill tried Bandaid brand blister bandages: I looked for a link, now they have for toes, heels … they are gel and feel very good. This is the name of them if you Google, you could try CVS, Walgreens … “Band-Aid Brand Blister Protection, Adhesive Bandages, 6 Count”

        Liked by 1 person

      • I know! There was a man arrested in our county for pointing a loaded gun at a woman in a road rage incident. There are crazy people out there.

        I am going to look for those blister BandAids tomorrow. Thank you, Linda.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes it happens here all the time Laurie. I don’t open my mouth when I am in the car anymore, unless I’m out in the country and no one is around – no grumbling, no singing to the radio, lest it be interpreted as “voicing my opinion” about someone else’s driving. It is scary times we live in.

        Those BandAids are awesome. I somehow had my sock get wadded up inside the toe part of my shoe – probably was in a hurry to leave that morning and didn’t notice it and it made a blister. I never felt it until the end of my walk which was odd. I had ordinary BandAids on hand and with Neosporin were slipping right off and they were not doing the trick – so got these. They won’t move – it’s been a few years but they had a pouffy gel BandAid as well that was awesome too.

        Speaking of walking, Mike Posner made his goal and had a video of himself splashing around in the Pacific Ocean. He was walking almost 30 miles a day after he recovered completely from the rattlesnake bite. He really picked up the pace as he was concerned about crossing mountains in Colorado in the snow, but I originally thought he was hopeful to get to California and swim in the Pacific by year-end, not this early. He likely made better time as he quit stopping for small impromptu concerts and also visiting with people along the way. He asked that no one join him on his walks as he said it was mostly highways and not safe. That is how he picked up the pace I’m thinking. I will mention his effort in an upcoming post.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I am going down to CVS tomorrow to find those Band-Aids, Linda. Thank you so much for your recommendation. That will give Bill time to try them out before the race.

        Wow! I did not realize Mike Posner was so close to finishing! That’s awesome. My son said that they were supposed to get a foot of snow last night in the Colorado mountains. Mike was wise to pick up the pace. Walking 30 miles/day is amazing! That’s really hoofing it!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I hope it does the trick for Bill – they had quite an array of blister products … the gel was awesome … didn’t see it in Amazon’s array of products, but maybe I missed it or try another brand – gel is cushy, but BandAid’s blister bandaids will seal in Neosporin etc. I didn’t want to send an Amazon link as they’ll bother you for months then with BandAid products. I hope Bill can still do the race.

        I was surprised too about Mike Posner’s progress and I have been following him on Twitter and he mentioned crossing into California a short time ago (or so it seems) and he has a rather defiant way of speaking on his videos, like “don’t be saying congrats to me til its done!” So, I thought he was close but not there. That is amazing to get 30 miles a day under your belt. Now he could go on the Camino walk and be totally in shape for it!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t think we have time to order them from Amazon anyway. They wouldn’t get here before the race.

        If Mike crossed the Rocky Mountains, he could easily walk the Camino. It would be a walk in the park for him!

        Liked by 1 person

  12. In situations like you mention, staying silent is usually better. That being said, you showed extreme patience in not tapping on your horn after the first two missed lights by the red Toyota. Betcha anything the driver was on his phone.

    I hope Bill’s blisters heal in plenty of time for the MCM.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Welcome back! Sounds like quite a whirlwind of amazing travel!

    Your words get right to the kernel of truth in everything we do: love. That’s always the right answer. It’s not always easy, comfortable or understood. But it’s always right.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Rebecca. It’s good to be back! You are right, of course, love, reflected from God, is always the right answer, no matter how difficult it may be for us to give.

      Like

  14. Great post encouraging tolerance and patience.
    While I agree with everything you said in the first part of your post, I am not sure if holding back is always the right way. We are supposed to fight evil, and not just let it spread. Of course, I do not mean just vague opinions and gossip. I mean things that are actually important.

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  15. Welcome back, Laurie. Your travels sound amazing! You’re such a disciplined person with the running and writing and you are correct— writing does take a lot of discipline! I love how you see the spiritual in the every day and expound on that. 🙂 You’re a blessing!

    Thanks for linking up at InstaEncouragements!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Welcome back to blogging, Laurie. Your travels sound wonderful. Band-Aid has specific line for blisters so give them a try. Hope you and your husband enjoy your upcoming races blister-free. #senisal

    Liked by 1 person

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