The Tools Are Close at Hand
The tools for self-awareness are close at hand. Years ago, early in my marriage to Lisa, I had a revelation that shattered me for life. I was all alone way back in the woods hunting deer. I was resting in the snow on a fallen log. In the distance I could hear the coyotes starting to call as the cool sun fell beneath the tree tops. I was thinking of my marriage. I was thinking of my love for Lisa. You see, earlier that day she had challenged me on the duplicity of my love. She said that when I claim to feel close to God, that's when I'm such a jerk towards her. I was adept at nurturing my contemplative/mystical relationship with God, but was meanwhile hurting my wife. The revelation, on that cold winter dusk, was that my heart either loved or it didn't. I can't love God and hate my brother... or wife. My heart either loves, and loves all unconditionally, or it doesn't. For true love is not partial about the object of its love. Love primarily emanates from the lover towards the beloved. It is not something that is pulled from the lover conditional on the beloved. This is what I realized that day. So during my long, lonely, dark and cold walk back home that night, I realized that the very tools for my self-awareness are right at hand. Hours of meditation and self-analysis were ploys, a distraction from what is readily evident right before my eyes. I realized right then and there that if I did not love my wife, and love her well, that I could not assume or claim to love God and to love him well. I came to realize, and have seen it proven over and over again down through the years, that the way I'm loving my wife (or, in your case, your husband or child or friend or parent or whatever) is a mirror reflection of the way I'm loving God. If I am distant from Lisa, I can be sure that I am distant from God. If I get easily distracted from Lisa, I can be sure that I get easily distracted from God. If I am easily drawn into the interest of another, then it reveals my heart's fickleness and willingness to betray. If I am caught up in my own activity, however noble, to the neglect of my relationship with Lisa... ditto with God. On it goes. If you want your heart to be whole and have integrity, the sooner you realize this the better. The fine art photograph is the creation of my friend Mark Hemmings and is taken from his mannequin series.