love over heroism

The thing about spending your life walking beside people in the midst of their stories is that if you’re doing it to write a good story on a blog, you’re probably doing it for the wrong reason.

To be a little transparent, when I began this Master’s program focusing on global development and justice, part of me [the part that I try to pretend like it doesn’t exist] was thrilled at the idea of saving the world around me. I could be a HERO! Though I didn’t want to say that out loud, especially as the idea of setting up ourselves as heroes goes against everything we have been learning in this program, the temptation to be a savior to people was alive and well in the darker parts of my soul.

One of the things I’m learning this summer is that stories are sacred.
In the midst of sacred stories, in my experience and reflection anyway, there isn’t room for a hero unless that hero is:

  1. Omnipotent and named Jesus
  2. The one living out their own story

For me to try to step into the role of anyone’s hero, takes away from the dignity of the individual I’m walking beside AND takes away glory from the one that actually has the capacity to shape their story into one of the best ones ever lived.

I’m learning a better way to live out this live I’m trying to live.
It’s kind of wild and also I’m not really good at it yet. This new way of living out life is one that I’ve been trying to get good at for a lot of years. It’s not really new. It’s not even unprecedented. It’s just something I’m not that good at yet. I really like getting the credit for things, I really like feeling like a hero. This way of life though, doesn’t have room for that.

I’m trying to just love people. It’s as simple as that. (I would roll my eyes if someone said this to me, because it seems like the really good person kind of thing to say. but i know its not this easy or cut and dry)
And when I say simple I mean really really hard and messy and confusing. It’s beyond a feeling or idea, or even any kind of Christian missions-y definition.
It’s easy to read a book and get inspired to be whimsical and joyful and right in the midst of all of the bad parts of life. But to be honest, it’s not really all that easy, not for me anyway. And please don’t tell me to just be like Jesus in every situation because…that’s not any less confusing. Because loving like Jesus requires hands and feet and Spirit and truth…and so much more than I understand today.

It’s messy because you have all these decisions to make about how love needs to look everyday. Some days love looks like being quiet and listening. Sometimes it looks like being loud and angry for the goodness and justice of someone you’re trying to love. Sometimes love looks like forgetting boundaries and answering the phone at 11PM because someone wants to say hello. Sometimes it looks like telling them they need to buy their own light bulbs when they only have a few hundred dollars to get them through all of life for the next 4 weeks. Maybe I’m just making myself feel better, but I like to think that Jesus wrestled through some of these same decisions while He lived amongst us on earth.

This summer of working in refugee resettlement is tricky for me.
It’s tricky because I’m trying to love each person well. I’m trying to enter into stories that I’m invited in a way that expresses the ultimate love and gives the most dignity to the story I’m entering into. I think it looks different every single day. I think that some days I come close to maybe hitting the mark, while other days I couldn’t be farther from real love if I tried.

Maybe I know what I need to do to get better at this whole thing and I’m just writing out some essays to justify my lack of loving better. Maybe I have no idea what I’m doing. Regardless, this morning, it’s the place I’m in.

What are you doing to love well? What are you doing to love in ways that give dignity? What are you doing to love in ways that actually express a love that gives without expectation?

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