Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Learning to Love and Self Death

"I will do these things inside your love
However fragile is how broken it becomes
If I don't tell you how I'm feeling it's because
I'm still learning, but I will learn to love

Thanks Ryan Adams (again). I thought when I got into this that the gratification would be immediate, permanent, and complete. It was what I was "passionate" about. We talk about that so much, "follow your passions" they say, "don't give up on your dreams." But now well into it, having pursued my passions I have found much pain. What I didn't know was that following my "heart" wasn't really that at all - it was ego-gratification. All of it was to pump fulfillment and meaning into my ever inflating self. God is a relentless teacher, and profoundly interested in deflating and ultimately killing of my self. Dang.

I have found myself dying quite often these days, and death is quite painful. I am just glad Jesus didn't say "if any man would come after me he must take up his pen and paper." That would have been a lot less painful. Turn out the cross is brutal and I feel the weight of it every day. It is only now that a new thought begins to emerge - perhaps the pain isn't God's absence, but perhaps its the pain of a lesson perfectly taught. I am starting to realize that I am not to do what I do for the gratification it brings but rather because it is the will of God (not the hyper-spiritualized voodoo-esque will of God, but the clear-cut black and white, written will of God). So to learn to do His will, to really love, I must first learn that love isn't about self-indulgence. The best way for me to learn that is to love without gratification, to serve without joy, to give without pleasure. I do this because it is right, not because it feels good. Then perhaps one day, in the words of Rilke, "I will live my way into the answer." Once my soul is sufficiently trained in this, is completely convinced that "there is only love," and once my ego is shrunk enough, then there will be joy, oh there will be joy. But not yet, I'm not ready yet because - "I'm still learning, but I will learn to love."