"To love - simply and truly - is so startling it leaves little time for anything else." -- Emily Dickinson
"Whenever asked about what should be done about another person, no matter what the situation, the answer is always… 'love them.' Specific applications of love apply in different circumstances (accept them, challenge them, walk with them, confront them, forgive them, tell them, etc.), but it never ceases to amaze me how often people think there is something else to do or try." - Yours truly
I fancy myself a “progressive”.
You have to label labels, I guess, when you use them. They mean so many things to so many people.
So by progressive, I mean that I want to always “make progress” in becoming a better and better human being.
Because I have had to move from being a human listening, to a human talking, to a human doing, to finally (and it is a work in progress) a human being.
I have a buddy who has smoked tobacco abundantly. He’s on his twelfth week of not smoking, and only last week threw away his last pack of cigarettes that he carried with him constantly, just in case he didn’t really want to be a non-smoker.
Before he became a non-smoker, he had to listen to the idea of it. This is no small step. Smokers don’t want to listen to the idea of not being a smoker. But he did. And it was hard. He was really confronted at this phase of progression. And even if he wanted to stop listening, he had no choice as he sat by his dad’s bedside caring for him (he’s a paramedic) daily (and nightly) as he died of lung cancer from smoking.
He then progressed to talking. It’s one thing to be willing to listen to the case for not smoking, and quite another to start speaking the case for non-smoking. I got to hear him as he progressed to this talking phase over lunch one day. It was quite amazing to hear him, especially when I considered how hard it was for him to listen to himself and consider the implications of his talking. I asked him if I could video tape him and capture the power of his talk. He reluctantly, but eagerly, but reluctantly agreed. I played it to a few hundred of our mutual friends. He was firmly established in the talking phase.
And the reason he was willing to talk was because he wanted to be seriously intent on progressing to the doing stage. He’ll tell you now, that he began the doing of not smoking with zero belief that he would succeed. Inwardly, he had already decided that he would give it try knowing he would fail just to be able to say to those that loved him that he had had done his talking to (his family, chief among them) that he had tried.
Little did he know, that it would take. Every time I see him now, he smiles and tells me how long it’s been. He is progressing from “doing” now to “being”. He now believes that he can BE a non-smoker.
It seems to me that this is a great example of what being progressive truly means.
To progress. To actually, and really, and painstakingly…make progress.
And in no other area is it more important to progress than in the area of love.
We must listen to new ideas of what it means to love.
We must start talking those ideas, owning it enough to speak about it.
We must start doing those ideas, loving in those new-to-us ways.
Eventually, glory of glory happens…and we become love.
Really…when I’m progressing in love. I don’t have time to smoke. Or to do anything else. And I’m having trouble finding anything else as worthwhile to do.
God help me.