Sometimes love demands that we get in someone’s face. When we see someone we love doing something which is harming them, love demands that we say something. Sometimes these words can and need to be strong, . . . but always said in love. If we do not say anything, we fail in love. Again, these words must always be said in love. Parents know this full well when they correct their children and at times forcefully demand a correction of bad behavior. It is out of concern, not simply anger.
As we continue to celebrate light in the midst of darkness, sometimes getting in someone’s face can be a way of lighting the way to a better life for them. Indeed, it is perhaps the most loving thing we can do, yet one of the most difficult. I am grateful for those in my past who have had the courage to get in my face and helped me onward to a new way of living.
Letting go is a difficult process, but one that can be accomplished!
Those who are parents know this all too well. My sister told me years ago, when my niece and nephew were young, that her job was to raise her children to live well and independent of her in this world. She described a constant state of awareness that she had to cultivate, an awareness that these children were on loan to her, that they weren’t hers, but that they belonged to the Universe, to God. All the work, all the worry, all the joy and all the good times were all about getting them to a point in life where they could move on and live of their own means. This, my sister told me, involved a great deal of letting go and a great deal of faith that a Power greater than herself could give her the grace to let go.
We CAN let go. No matter how much it pains us, we can let go, stop controlling, stop worrying and begin to LIVE! We can allow others to be who they are and do what they desire. And in the midst of it, we can take care of ourselves! As a matter of fact, taking care of ourselves is very important! It’s key in the process of letting go. Whether that be to go to a meeting, get some counseling, talking with a friend, or simply living life and having some fun. At times it might be very difficult to let go, but the days or moments when it’s difficult do not define the totality of our experience. When I’m having difficulty, I have to look at the whole picture and realize that this difficult moment will pass.
In letting go, we find freedom. We feel like we’re loosing a part of ourselves, but what’s really happening is that we’re finding ourselves and, far from loosing someone, we may find that the best is yet to come!
I wish I could take credit for the title of today’ post, but I can’t. This was the title of a talk given by the Dean of Students when I was a Freshman in College. Here we were, a bunch of Freshman in College bursting at the seems to be free of our parents, free of the constraints of High School and free to party hardy, just waiting to dive into every experience that our new found freedom could possibly give us! And then he gives us a talk about the tyranny of freedom and the freedom of discipline. Even if I forgot the truth of what he spoke over various times in my life, I never forgot the title – and it’s truth comes back to me again and again.
Discipline is not a dirty word. And complete freedom, with no boundaries, can lead to tyranny and lots of unfocused, dispersed energy running all over the place! Look at the children of parents who give them free reign. Look at society and the world when the common good is displaced for the comfort and convenience of a few. Look within.
Discipline is that which leads us to freedom. Look at any musician, athlete, artist, writer, parent, therapist or business person. Look at anyone who is good at what they do and chances are, behind all of that we will see hours and hours, days, weeks and years of practice honing their craft which lead them to the freedom of expression they now enjoy and from which others benefit. If I am not disciplined in body, mind and spirit, my energy is dispersed and my living unfocused. When I am disciplined in body, mind and spirit – this investment of time leads to a stream of physical and spiritual energy that is focused and a love that is outreaching.
Of course discipline can become a tyranny if it is not balanced with the freedom of relaxation and play. All work, no play makes us dull people indeed! But if we’re all play and little work, we will also find our energies dissipated and our body/spirits lifeless. Get the spiritual and physical endorphins going with a little discipline today!