Jilted Lovers or Joyous Love?

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mesa verde national park of southern colorado / march 2008 / bob traupman. 

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

Our society finds it quite acceptable for people to hop into one relationship after another or just satisfy one’s needs by”hooking up”, maybe  — and hopefully not so much during this pandemic!

How many times have young people thought that this was the person of their dreams and been dumped by a rude text message ~ or done the dumping themselves?

I wonder how many marriages have ended when one spouse showed up in the kitchen and announced, “I want a divorce!”  No discussion.  No attempt to work out problems.  No mercy.  No forgiveness.   Over.  Done, after calling a divorce lawyer.

And what happens is that some may add one unsuccessful relationship on top of another.  As a result, our heart can become more and more wounded. And less and less trusting, less and less capable of loving .  . . unless somehow ~ someone (Someone? helps us find a way to believe again, to hope again.

So, let’s take a deeper look at the truth and the transforming power of St. Paul’s words in I Cor. 13 we’re reflecting on in this series “What is Love?”

LOVE . . .

. . .  it is not rude,

it does not seek its own interests,

it is not quick-tempered,

 it  does not brood over injury,

it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.

it bears all things.

believes all things,

hopes all things.

endures all things.

Love never fails.

We just have to learn to love anyway.

At least, that’s what St. Paul is getting at “Love does not brood over injuries.”

In the Art of Loving, psychoanalyst Erich Fromm’s classic book written in 1956, consider his statement that will blow most of us out of the water:

“Love is not primarily a relationship to a specific person:  it is an attitude, an orientation of character which determines the relatedness of a person to the world as a whole, not toward one “object” of love.  If a person loves only one person and is indifferent to the rest of his fellow men, his love is not love but a symbiotic attachment  or an enlarged egotism . . . If I truly love one person I love all persons, I love the world; I love life.  If I can say to somebody else, “I love you,” I must be able to say”I love in you everybody.   I love through you the world, I love in you also myself”~ p. 39.)

This is, of course, is the heart of Jesus’ message, but many, if not most of us who say we’re his followers still don’t get it.

As tech opportunities for “communication” proliferate the less we communicate.  We communicate more and more on a superficial level.  You can’t really know someone through texting or on Facebook or in an email.  A person can present a false persona. The only real way to communicate with someone is to be in their presence using all our senses.

We need to learn, once again how to come to true intimacy ~ the coming together of two or more persons who have the courage open themselves to the transformative power of love.

If you are one who seeks that, I’m with you.   That’s what my writing is about. In fact,  the high school seniors whom I had in my religion classes fifty years ago were required to read that book along the Victor Frankl’s  Man’s Search for Meaning.

Good and gracious God,

we ask you to heal the hearts that are broken.

Help us to see even in the midst of our brokenness the depth of Your Love for us.

And may we see our brokenness when we reject Your love.

We may feel we cannot take the risk to open our hearts once more.

Give us the courage and strength to stop destructive patterns that lead only to more pain.

Give us hope, Lord.

Instead of seeking to find our true love,

let us simply become persons who love —

. . . whomever we’re with,

. . . to grow in our capacity to love

so that we can reach out to the whole world

as You do at every moment,

in every time and place.

To You, God of our understanding,

we give You praise, now and forever.

AMEN!

Now I suggest you take a second look at that tree weathering the mountaintop at 8000 feet.  It has been jilted by the weather.  But it still stands nobly and proudly — broken, gnarled and twisted; it’s a fine lesson for us of the meaning of life.

And here is the entire text of St. Paul’s Ode to Love (I Corinthians 13) once again.   Savor each phrase and see how you measure up. . . .

If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal.   And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains  but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous. Love is not pompous, it is not inflated,it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered,  does not brood over injury,it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never fails.  So faith, hope love remain, these, but the greatest of these is love.  1 Corinthians 13

Now before you go, here’s a music video for you by Brandon Flowers “Jilted Lovers and Broken Hearts.” Click Here.

With Love, 

Bob Traupman

Contemplative Writer

Presence not presents

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Sometimes we get so caught up with buying the right present for our kids, Lord, that we fail to realize that our presence is more important than our presents.

Mary, your human mother, loved you so much that you became Love itself, Lord.

We can do the same thing.  Help us to be present to our children each and every day.  Help us to hear what they are not saying.

Help us to call forth the love inside them.

Help us realize that material things can never substitute for the love and care that comes from inside us.

And if we don’t have family, Lord, then let us be present to the others in our life.

May we call forth Your light within them.  Let it light up their faces,  show in their laughter, in their mischief.

Help us to realize that the most important thing we do each day is to be present to our children, to nourish their souls, not just provide for their bodies.  May we get to  know each child as the the unique person they are and to call forth their unique gifts.

Forgive us, Lord, for getting so wrapped up in our careers and the running around we do that we forget that  being present to our children and to our family is the essential thing.

We honor You, Lord, for your great love.  In Your love, in Mary’s love, may we find love.  To You be glory forever.  Amen.

Brothers and sisters,

A couple of suggestions:  (1) Gather your household each day and  share with each other what we did that day.  Get  to know each other.  If you and your spouse, if you and your children are like ships passing in the night, you are not doing the essential thing: Loving your family.

Love involves knowing.  And knowing only happens when we trust each other enough to share what’s going on inside.  Only in that kind of atmosphere  do we grow.  Only then do we become the persons we are intended to be.  (2) Do not let the TV be the focus of your family room.  Arrange your furniture so you can look at (and delight in) each others’ faces and notice if there’s a twinkle or sadness there.  (3)  Choose games that cause you to interact with people not with tech toys.

If each of us takes time to be present to the people in our lives, we will have a meaningful Christmas.  After all, it’s all about how Love Itself was born of a simple teenage girl who said YES to Love with every fiber of her being.  May we also give birth to Love in our world today.

Happy Hanukah to my Jewish sisters and brothers!

Bob Traupman

priest/ writer

monday, december 22, 2008