Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Comforting Words - "Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert, ch. 18

"In response, somewhere from within me, rises a now-familiar presence, offering me all the certainties I have always wished another person would say to me when I was troubled...

I'm here.  I love you.  I don't care if you need to stay up crying all night long.  I will stay with you.  If you need the medication again, go ahead and take it - I will love you through that, as well.  If you don't need the medication, I will love you, too.  There's nothing you can ever do to lose my love.  I will protect you until you die, and after your death I will still protect you.  I am stronger than Depression and I am braver than Loneliness and nothing will ever exhaust me."

- "Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert, ch. 18, pg. 54

So, I've been sitting here reading these words over and over and just staring at the screen, not knowing what to write.  I can't help but read them over and over.  Isn't this what everyone longs to hear all the time?  These words are so warm and rich and full of grace and bring such relief to those of us that work so hard to be...perfect.  It's an impossible, pointless task to reach for perfection.  And to hear that I'm loved, whether I do anything right or do everything feels like I can breathe again.

I can't comprehend this depth of love.  It is competely unreasonable, in that it goes against all reason.  But it's good.  And I'll take it.


  1. Why is it unreasonable, Leah? Love is a feeling, a choice, and an action. As a feeling, the chemical reactions that take place in the body create that feeling of love. We are wired to respond to certain physical stimuli, and we learn to respond to social stimuli (sense of humor, talent, etc) with that feeling we call love. But as thinking beings, we must choose to acknowledge the feeling of love, or not. And then we have to choose to what degree do I acknowledge that love I feel for another person. If I choose to be as committed as your quote from the book expresses, then I have removed the chemical reactions from the equation. Then love is action. How do I show you my love? Do I hold you in my arms all night as you cry? Do I forgive you when you hurt me? Do I leave you because loving you is hurting me? Am I willing to pay the price of my being hurt so that I can be there for you. Choices that lead to action.
    The beauty of God, revealed in Jesus, is that God was, in fact, willing to pay the price of being hurt even while loving us; going so far as to die for us. I think the reason we have a hard time comprehending that completeness of love is that it requires knowing everyone and knowing why they should be loved. We sometimes don't even know ourselves. How can we possibly know someone else when we don't know ourselves? Further, if I don't even know myself well enough to love me, how can someone else love me? Then we begin to believe that no matter how much a person goes out of their way to prove their love for us, if I can't love myself, then they can't love me either. That is where choice comes in on the flip side. We must choose to accept love I the same way we must choose to give love. Love is a choice. Receiving love is an action.
    Whether we know it, understand, or believe it, God loves us. If we are followers of Jesus, if we hear and obey the commandant to love the LORD, your God, with all your heart, mind, and strength. Then we must also hear and obey the commandment to love our neighbors as we want to be loved, which is with God's love. If God loves me and my neighbors, even while I don't think I'm lovable. Then, he must love them too even if I don't think they are lovable. Then I too must love the unlovable, including myself, if I believe that Jesus is God and the one I have chosen to follow. There is no us and them; there is only us. We must love one another, or we will continue to destroy each other...

  2. Well, I see that you still have a bit of the Methodist Pastor in you! ;P Thanks for your comment!

  3. Not sure if I like that...not sure what it means