Today’s hashtag mutiny against the antisocial behavior of social media known by a few as #thisiscrazylove2016 is the scariest one for me to write.
A little context.
The Christian sciptures have these recorded words of Jesus stating that the greatest commandment is to love God and love your neighbor as yourself. It’s hard for me to write that text for two reasons.
First because I think it is way over-emphasized in churches and the new commandment Jesus is recorded stating later on in the Gospels is a much more profound notion. That one states that we should love sacrificially; to offer ourselves to humanity to perpetuate the spirit of giving that He modeled throughout the story of His life.
For those of you who don’t believe in the divinity of Jesus please excuse the capital H for he and his. For many who may read this who do believe it to be true, to use lowercase could offend them. I understand that’s a rabbit trail from the post but I hope to never be misunderstood when quoting or paraphrasing scripture.
The second reason I have difficulty with the “greatest commandment” mentioned above is that I have always had a problem with loving myself.
Now, before you either roll your eyes at the notion I don’t know fully how to love myself OR feel the need to reach out with open arms and tell me, “Hey man, it’s going to be okay… there there… ah, poor thing… blah, blah, blah.” I need you to understand that if I am going to truly take on the task of writing about my love and admiration for others for the rest of the year, I need to first deal with my own trash and get it out of my system.
This post is purely about me.
Every morning I wake up and go to the bathroom to get ready for the day like many others do. I end up looking in the mirror either while I am trimming my beard or brushing my teeth or trying to figure out what to do with my hair now that I am actually trying to grow it out. There I am looking back in judgment for what I see physically or with a knowing eye to what is inside.
I have deep insecurities. I count the ways I don’t measure up to others and ways I fall short of my goals.
I count the moments from the previous day or the minutes or even the hours I sleep later than I should. I think of how much more gratified I am when, on occasion, I wake early and breath in the early morning air walking the dogs or siting with my pad of paper and pencil to write the thoughts I have and construct them into ideas that could be used to spread a little joy or intrigue to others.
I think of the times I move to the shed in the evening, where I am right now, to write and decide instead to search out the internet for the black hole of videos of interviews of successful creative people or Ellen clips or epic fails where people try stunts and crash with laughter coming from the iPhone handling documentarian ready to capture skateboard brilliance.
I am more often than not, my own worst critic, giving myself less than an inch of slack, expecting a machine like approach to the dreams I have and counting all the ways I missed out on opportunities for the day to progress things forward.
What I fear is the failure of getting it wrong. That fear puts me in a pseudo-paralized state keeping me from the honest work of putting in the time to flesh out what is really needed to be captured or recorded.
So, with all that written out for you to see I will now say that in the midst of the judgment and insecurity I actually do think I love myself. If I didn’t I would give myself the time and energy to concern myself these short comings.
I love how much I love people. I love how much I want desperately to understand where each and every person is coming from in their life to get to the opinions, beliefs, convictions and interests they have. I love getting people to laugh. Not to validate my humor but to see the joy that spreads across their face and sends hilarious sounds into the space we share. I love that my initial thought with anyone down and out is to encourage them to go for better. I love that I get share my life with my best friend and I am so lucky that she calls me her husband. I love that I have two dogs who make me laugh with their canine antics and I enjoy seeing them continue on a daily basis to learn how to live with each other in our home.
I love that from the time I was a young child I was always outgoing enough to talk to anyone within a two foot radius. I love that in the midst of apprehension (due to a worry I may offend another culture) I am willing to meet with people from around the world now living in Nashville to get to know what their world views are and see what of their life will make mine more robust.
I love that in small talk I am able to probe and study the human spirit of the stranger in front of me to gather for a moment the spark of humanity that ties us together.
I love that when I am watching a film I often understand the artistic choice made for the wide shot or close-up or reason for the handheld jerky motion of the camera through a scene. I actually love that I can visualize the camera working in the shot and have been invited into the film maker’s world to understand their artistry in the midst of story and lighting and setting and costume choice and props and paint color on the walls.
Mostly though I love that in the midst of this cathartic rant I am able to be honest with myself and write the words needed to say I love myself so that as I move forward in this journey of showing love to a different person a day for an entire year I can do so without pause or concern because I have dealt with the most humiliating (and I mean that in the sense of discomforted humility) way I can.
So today, at the beginning of this year long saga, I love me and tomorrow I will be better equipped to love another as I love myself.