The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them.
Each day we have another opportunity to reach beyond ourselves to express love to another. As a people of God we are reminded by people like Thomas Merton that loving others means surrendering the self! Too often we look to those we love and we work to make them who we expect them to be, want them to be or desire them to be. In so doing we show the deep love we have for ourselves and our own agendas but NOT necessarily the love we have for the other.
Today I invite us all to seek to let those we love “be perfectly themselves,” trying as hard as possible to not let our own selves dictate how we see them but to love them as a part of the created image of the Divine.
Many of you may know Betty Livingstone from All Saints Parish in Windsor. Sadly, Betty died last evening and will be missed by many in the church. She loved the church and she loved being an important part of its governance. Betty died doing what she loved best – meeting with a diocesan group to get ready for the upcoming General Synod and Primatial election. I sometimes struggled with Betty’s longevity on committees as well as the long terms that many others have spent as well etc. – Yet, it was indeed an important part of her being herself. While we did not always agree, I held Betty in high regard and I will miss her. She was a kind and generous spirit and her gift of herself to the church was immeasurable. Her faith was unquestionable and she was a fine witness for Jesus Christ. “Well done good and worthy servant.” Betty is irreplacable.