Children are especially vulnerable to shame. Self-centered and dependent, young humans will easily translate, "You did something bad," into, "You ARE bad." We need to be aware and careful about the messages we send.
Love is not always kisses and hugs. Love is not necessarily a big, gorgeous wedding. Love is not sunshine and roses for days. Love is not everything being perfect all of the time. Love is a choice and it takes work. It takes work to truly love.
As we approach Valentine's Day, I thought it might be helpful for us to look at this business of love as it is seen in the eyes of God, from what I have come to understand as a result of the Conversations with God dialogues.
Love is not something that is generated from within us. Love is what enters our mind and heart and soul when we open to it. Love is what we live in -- it's the intelligence of the universe and the life force that keeps us alive.
Love is a grace we give one another. Love is sometimes effortful, but it's not based on someone else's effort. Love is what happens when we open our hearts and allow the love that naturally lives inside to flow forth.
When those of us who call ourselves Christians stand by in silence as someone, speaking with the authority granted to pastors entrusted with teaching the Word of God, uses the Word to cultivate disgust toward individuals made in the image of God, we tacitly concur with his conclusions.
Given our societal tendency to want to solve violence by ramping up our own violence in response, Tuff's authentic heroism reminds us that the best, lasting solutions to our challenges is by meeting violence and hatred with kindness, compassion, and unconditional love.
While your child is still alive, don't worry about what your friends will think. Twenty years from now, your friends' opinions won't keep you up at night. But your remorse about not loving your child while you still had the chance will. Trust me on this.
When was the last time you noticed and appreciated a bird building a nest, the color yellow, palm trees swaying in the wind, an extra 15 minutes when a meeting gets done early, sleeping in, stories from a senior citizen or hitting every green light?
Rob and I know many Christian gay couples who are thriving both in their walks with God and in their relationships. We see the fruit of the spirit all over their lives! Really, it is between God and them... not our business. We don't secretly think they are in sin.
Wild horses couldn't keep me and Rob from going to Ryan's wedding. I know that many of our evangelical Christian friends probably don't understand this; you'll see it as an endorsement of sin, and as a compromise of the truth of scripture. But that isn't how God speaks to us about it.
How we treat others should be a choice that reflects our character -- not a reaction to other people's character. So, I choose to be kind because my kindness will define me. Not my parents. Not my relationships. Not my sexuality. Not my work. But my kindness.
The benefits of comprehending what an unconditional love means and implementing it in our everyday life seems to be significant, not only to us but also to whomever and whatever we interact with. So let's start the process and see it for yourself.
I'm going to be brave here and tell you exactly what I fear about my dating life now that I'm over 50. I'm terrified there's no one out there for me. That no one who can put up with my nuttiness, my anxieties, my insecurities, my moodiness.
The ridiculous downside to parenting is clear and visceral -- that's why it's so easy and funny to complain about it. But how can I explain the upside, that enormous emotional experience, which compels us to persevere?
What are you doing for Mother's Day this year? Buying a card that extols mom as someone who fed you, changed you, rocked you to sleep, and cheered you on when you were learning to walk and talk, read and write? A beautiful bouquet of flowers?
Today, I still need my scooter and wheelchair to get around. But something inside me has changed. I have a sense of freedom that is in some ways more powerful and sustainable than what I felt when I could walk and dance and run and play.
Here's another thing -- receiving generously a gift of authentic love has nothing to do with deserving. It's called unconditional love for a reason. That love that embraces us, even when we mess up. This love surpasses our calculations of right and wrong.
Somehow, over the last fifteen years, parents have increasingly embraced the idea that rules are for other people's children, and that bending them to make things easier in the short term is a good idea.