Saturday, February 16, 2008

An Elder View of Love

We just celebrated Valentine's Day and it set me to pondering the subject of love. I've never really had a problem with loving others. It was easy for me to meet and greet people and to like just about everybody. As a gradeschooler, I was called "smiley" by the school janitors and in high school one of the nuns berated me in front of the Latin class for smiling too much and being too happy. I guess she was having a bad day. The lesson to love everyone, even our enemies, and to think of everybody as a child of God was ingrained deeply in me. But, another lesson that should have come with the "love your neighbor", ie, "as you love yourself", was pretty much missed by me until about age 64 - talk about a slow learner! I didn't love myself because I had formed a habit from childhood of berating myself for all the things that I didn't do right and for the outright "sins" that I had committed. Our faith told me that if I was sorry for my sins, God would forgive me and so I did believe that God forgave me but I couldn't give that same forgiveness to myself. Fortunately, I now see the light and can honestly say I love myself. It seems a little vain but I practice saying nice things to myself instead of verbally abusing myself whenever I do some of the dumb things that I do. It feels really nice. Try it, you'll like it.

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