Wednesday, May 11, 2011

following osceb's talk about love

Last night was hard. I don't know why. It comes all of a sudden, one can hardly expect it. But I found myself writing an email to my best friend and it's overwhelming, this longing to be with the people I miss, my beautiful friend, my brave brother. And all the people that made that city a home to me. Here the English falls short; missing them does not hold it all. Mi-e dor de ei.

At OSCEB last night the message was about love--not really romantic love, although the person speaking talked a bit about that in the beginning, but mostly what it means to love one another well. It was a really good talk, and he gave an example about how a small thing like his roommate not washing his dishes made it hard to love him. I thought about family, about all the people throughout college it was difficult to love, how difficult I made it for them to love me as well.

I think about the lessons in all this, how much God has taught me, how it is a hard-learned thing and one that leaves the proof of its passing. From 1 Cor. 13: "[Love] always perseveres." It is no wonder that in the Romanian translations you see "sufera totul." It brings to mind English's long-suffering, and then I realize that this is actually in that same chapter: "Dragostea este indelung-rabdatoare," which in my English Bible is written "Love is patient," but also translates as long-suffering. We talked about how God's love is unconditional, that it is not merited but then it doesn't depend on us.

Afterward, as a few of us walked back to the metro, I asked them what they thought about the message and it turned into a conversation about marriage. It always surprises women here when I tell them that for a while I didn't want to get married, even after assuring that I do want to now. And so I tried to explain--loving people this way is hard, you will most certainly hurt one another, how it seemed to me easier if it were just me and God, because then I'm the only sinful one in the relationship. And I still think it's true, but it finally occurred to me that this is in no way limited to marriage and so it is with all relationships. I must risk it, and it is good to do so. I want to, and certainly by now my God has given me many occasions to persist, to forgive. Once again my friend comes to mind, how we learned to double back and love one another when we were least lovable and in the end held out skinned knees, calloused hands, but open tender hearts, full of all hope. It's work, the kind that might harden the outside the way your muscles harden, but soften the inside, if you let it work right.

It's strange to not have that challenge here--it's always been so hard for me. But I don't know anyone well enough for that yet, am not close enough and it is true that proximity charges this sort of thing. Of course, there's always something. And I find that without this thing, here there are different things that try to pull me from God, that ultimately he uses to bring me more into him. His will is good, I know this, I hope in it.

Tomorrow the women of OSCEB are getting together and talking about what it means to be a godly wife and mother. And so I except there will be more conversations like this in the future. It's good to be able to have them a little better now. I'm reminded of the comparison between committing to my students here with commitment to marriage. Anyway, interested to see how it goes tomorrow, excited. And hopeful about the conversations to come!

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