Whom shall I love? “Whichever one needs it most in the moment.” For she or he is the Christface set before me.
[3.5 minute read]
[a re-contextualization of Dark Night of the Soul (6) – Dad & His Family. Ours]
I believe “The Way” of Yeshua is way, way simpler than institutionalized Christianity complicates it. This prior article (6.1) explains why, and introduces the words below.
I don’t mean to exalt my own father to a status of sainthood. Or, perhaps, that IS what I mean to do. Is it really that hard to believe that God wishes all of us to be exalted to that status?
Is it hard to believe that God wishes us to see the saint in every one of God’s children?
That God wishes for us to see the saint in our own selves?
Were these not the clear, simple, and unambiguous words of God’s Son to us? The kingdom is within us. We are His Father’s sons and daughters? Is that supposed to be some kind of veiled language or psycho-trick? Secret meanings that only the elite can decode? The elite, like lepers and tax collectors?
In any case, I’m just telling the story from one perspective, about one man, and how I see it that he embodied the one simple rule of Christ meant for all of us, stripped of any complicated systems.
My dad once mused about which of his 6 kids he loved most:
“Whichever one needs it most in the moment.”
I wonder how he got so smart. Do you think he thought it through? I do, but not in his brain. Through his heart.
Not by thinking; by living, acting.
Responding to whichever grace was put in his face.
According to his common, and his unique, nature as created by God.
He was a large man in the second half of his life. He loved his food like he loved his children—whatever was in front of him at the moment:-) That seemed to suit him naturally. He lived hard, deep, wide.
Do we want to indict him for indulging his voracious appetite for food? Some sort of coping mechanism for his fallen nature? Go ahead, if that is all you have “eyes to see.” But I tell you, it suited him so very naturally.
There was something uncomfortably delightful about being with him as he cherished his snack, meal, or a bowl of cornflakes with bananas in it.
I think it was the comfort of watching a man live according to his nature.
He had a big ego, but it too suited him—not so large that it wasn’t easily carried by the expanse of his soul, perpetually opened to humility by force and by choice. I think his soul received and nourished that buoyancy by living hard, deep, and wide…
…sometimes by shame exposed, and…
…sometimes by the inexorable tow of his loved ones splashing into his face the forgiveness he wrestled to bestow on his own fallenness.
Do you wish to indict him for his inflated ego? Go ahead, if that is all you have “eyes to see.” No one loved by him would have his love any other way.
When he bragged about himself or his loved ones, and we rolled our eyes, it was uncomfortably comfortable. At other times, we watched him beat himself up as his own worst critic. We experienced him living widely, from pole to pole across the spectrum from pride to humility.
To watch him love and hate himself at the same time was to see a man occupying the fullness of his nature, which gave us license to feel the same.
Those who felt his love never doubted its authenticity, because there was nothing to doubt in everything else about him. His ego and his appetite couldn’t be doubted. They were on full display perpetually. As was his humility when he was humbled.
He lived large, wide, deep… No masks. No motives hidden for very long.
He lived in every moment.
He loved in every moment.
Sometimes he struggled to return to the moment. And it was at those times we saw him suffering. Apart from his nature. And immersed in his nature. Both, at the same time.
He loved and lived in suffering, and lived and loved in joy.
I think that even when we didn’t want to be around him, we wanted to be around his saintliness. His mixture of purity and imperfection was a strange comfort. If he judged us, it wasn’t from his real heart.
I, and many, saw him loving the beggar and the possessed. Loving our nature. Struggling to love himself. Struggling to walk The Way. And, yes, almost enjoying the struggle. United with his Beloved who dwelt in his heart.
I think he was the face of Yeshua to many. In a lifetime of moments.
Saint Dad, to me.
Would that we all, in this moment, love what lies before us.
Neil D. (the III!) 2020-05-13
These reflections are a sequel to Dark Night of the Soul (6.1) – A “System” to live by? No.
and were inspired by Dark Night of the Soul (6) – Dad & His Family. Ours