Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Love as skill development

So there is a person I'm not a huge fan of. This person just has a way of getting under my skin. In fact they have gotten there so many times I'm not sure if they had one of those life transforming moments, I'm not sure I would, if I'm honest, that I'd really give them a second chance. I'm not going to say much more than that but in the time that I've known and interacted with this person I've thought a lot about love (a Biblical imperitive) as opposed to liking. I know I'm broken. Jesus calls us to forgive 70x7 times and John says that God is love - I'm a work in progress and this is just where I live right now.

I recently listened to the Iconocast interview with Robert Ellsberg where he talked about one of Dorothy Day's favorite passages from the Brothers Karamatzov. A woman comes to an old monk, Father Zossima and tells him how she'd like to become a nurse but is kept from doing so by the thought of people being ungrateful. He answers "Love in action is a harsh and dreadful thing compared to love in dreams." Zing! Zossima, 1. My utopian/"grass is greener" delusions, 0.

This dovetails nicely with the ideas of another of Day's favorite authors, Erich Fromm, who rejected the idea of "falling in love" to instead speak of love as a skill. This makes 1 Cor 13 (a passage we've neutered by restricting to weddings) perhaps a skill to be perfected; when I'm more patient, more, kind, when I keep a smaller record of wrongs...I'm growing and it feels awful because hanging out with this person is still about as much fun as cuddling with a cheese grater. "Patient, kind, no records of wrongs...harsh and dreadful...all right"

Perhaps the problem for me is that I still imagine much of Jesus' shinanagins as happening in kids books where he wears a bathrobe.

To really follow Jesus means to "overcome evil [and the things we encounter that are a little more benign] with good" (Rom 12:21)

Crossing Over To Love from The Work Of The People on Vimeo.

1 comment:

  1. I know, I know! I'm just not much fun sometimes but I'm glad you've been practicing that love thing so well with me.

    Your Cheese Grater :)