Monday, April 15, 2013

Charity Case: A Case for Charity

I know I have talked about this before but I feel like revisiting this concept for a minute.

Some folks collect spoons, and some collect ticket stubs from concerts they have attended, and still others might collect their own bellybutton lint in a jar they keep in their room.....hypothetically speaking.


I collect people.

Contrary to how it may appear at times, I love people. In fact, I love people so much that my love has gotten me in trouble in the past. See here is the thing, I know it is "normal" for people to come and go from our lives.  It would be foolish to presume that every person we have ever met or cared about is going to stay in our lives forever. I know this....but that doesn't makes it any easier when someone you love walks away.

No matter how much you tell yourself to just let go and move on...there they sit like a ghost in the back of your mind.  If there is one thing I have learned about myself it is this...Though it may take me awhile to get there...once I choose to love somebody, I will love them for the rest of my life. I mentioned in the last blog that I am like a dog when it comes to those I love. At times I have realized that this has been to my detriment.

You see...somewhere down the road of life I picked up this nasty though well-intentioned belief that loving somebody means putting their needs about your own always. I guess I should clarify something....I STILL believe that this is true....but what I never learned was the other half of this equation. If you are going to love like that, then you need to be sure that other person is willing to love you in the same way.

It breaks my heart to see friends and relatives in relationships where one partner is totally giving and the other utterly taking.  The reason it breaks my heart is because I know these good people will never walk away from these relationships. They are loyal to a fault and even though they are not getting what they need, they stay out of a sense of love for their partner.

I have often observed in dating...well....more like in human behavior in general....that there is an attitude of "take all you get and give as little as you can." I don't believe that people do this consciously or with ill-intentions, I just think it is what this world has programed us to believe. But while this makes for excellent survival tactics, it is absolutely poisoning to a relationship.

For as much as I often find myself shaking my head at the human race (including myself) I do in my heart of hearts believe that deep down (as cliche' as it sounds) that 90% of the horrible things we do comes from this innate desire to be loved.  We are all in essence running around like crazy people trying to fill this love shaped hole in our souls. Some might say that we are looking for God, some might say we are trying to relive our relationships with our parents, and others might say that we have simply invented this idea of love and of needing people and the sooner we get over that the better off we will be.

From my limited observation, I must agree with C.S. Lewis when he talks about evil....

"If Dualism is true then the Bad Power must be a being who likes badness for its own sake. But in reality we have no experience of anyone liking badness just because it is bad. The nearest we can get to it is in cruelty. But in real life people are cruel for one of two reasons - either because they are sadists, that is, because they have a sexual perversion which makes cruelty a cause of sensual pleasure to them, or else for the sake of something they are going to get out of it - money, or power, or safety. But pleasure, money, power and safety are all, as far as they go, good things. The badness consists in pursuing them by the wrong method, or in the wrong way, or too much. I do not mean, of course, that the people who do this are not desperately wicked. I do mean that wickedness, when you examine it, turns out to be the pursuit of some good in the wrong way. You can be good for the mere sake of goodness : you cannot be bad for the mere sake of badness." -Mere Christianity

I once knew a man who's wife cheated on him, this man was devastated by what his wife had done. One night an old friend from college showed up in town and asked this man if he would like to get together and catch up.  The two met up at a local restaurant and the man related his sad tale to the friend who happened to be a woman that he had once thought he would like to marry, but who had married someone else. After telling the friend about how his wife had cheated on him and how she had taken the kids and left the state, though had not as of yet asked for a divorce; his friend told the man how her husband had turned out to be an abusive tyrant who belittled her and made her feel like a worthless individual. The two talked for hours at the restaurant and then continued the conversation at the woman's hotel room. At one point, the woman asked the man if he ever wondered what life would have been if they had married each other all those years ago, and then she asked him if he wanted to stay the night. The man was torn, he knew that his marriage was over and that it was only a matter of time until it was legally over as well.  He also knew that he had strong feelings for this friend that had never gone away. Looking at her he could see that she had endured years of needless abuse at the hands of her husband and he wanted very much to just take her in his arms and make love to her and make her feel beautiful and wanted and loved. And if he were being really honest with himself, there was also a small part of him that wanted to do to his wife what she had done to him. He had been a virgin when he married his wife because he believed that sex was something that you only shared with the person you committed to spend the rest of your life with. But now, he had grown bitter, jaded, and disenchanted with the adherence to such a fairy tale ideology. He thought to himself..."That isn't how the real world works. In the real world people cheat and hurt one another for no reason and follow their own selfish desires regardless of who they have to step on to get it. So why shouldn't I enjoy this moment of intimacy with a person I care very deeply about?"

So did he? Would you?

Where have your best intentions led you? What have you allowed others to do to you in the name of love? What have you done to others under the same banner?

If I could grant us all one gift it would be the gift of perfect empathy. The reason for this being that I honestly believe that if we could truly experience the effect that our actions have on others, we might think twice about doing them. Charity, the pure love of Christ...This is what we are hear to learn. We love each other the way we love ourselves...the problem is so many of us do not as yet truly love ourselves, and because of this, we not only mistreat and abuse others for out own selfish gains, but we also allow others to mistreat and abuse us as well. Neither one of these is a good place to be.

Love yourself. Love others. Defend the things worth defending, purity,optimism, tolerance, temperance, beauty, and above all these things...true charity, the pure love of Christ.

1 comment:

  1. Hi. Discovered your blog this morning and haven't been able to close the tab all day. Obviously I've ready back pretty far. I just want to say thank you. You have some incredible insights that have really resonated in me. And even woken up some of my own analytic feelings i had put on hold following some emotional trauma. What you say about empathy being something we all need is inspired. I really appreciate your kind, yet brazen (and entertaining) words that have put shape to so many thoughts I've not known how to express. You have quite a gift and have made quite an impact on me. Thank you so much for sharing what you know.