Life is good. But we cannot always feel totally tickety-boo all the time. I had a moment the other night where everything was annoying. I did not (ever) want to drink, but I did feel that real ”outside” feeling. Where I ASSUME AND FEEL that friends are looking at me feeling sorry for me that I am not drinking, where I can see the shallow sameness of boozing and it made me feel UUUUURRRRGH. And put me in such a grump. I noticed all that was irritating about my nearest and dearest, but it was all down to me and my perceptions and issues and I just needed a kick up the backside.
One of my other jobs is doing weddings, and I was writing a wedding address this morning still feeling in my deep self-pitying grump over perceived slights…. The beauty of having to give talks at weddings is that you need to honestly evaluate the state of your own union and you cannot give advice that you are not taking yourself. (Well, not if you are going to do a job with integrity you can’t….). So here I was thinking about what I was writing (don’t worry I am not going to get all religious on you)… and thinking about the passage the couple had chosen…. which (part of it) reads:
4 Love is large and incredibly patient.[f] Love is gentle and consistently kind to all. It refuses to be jealous[g] when blessing comes to someone else. Love does not brag about one’s achievements nor inflate its own importance. 5 Love does not traffic in shame and disrespect, nor selfishly seek its own honour. Love is not easily irritated[h] or quick to take offense.[i] 6 Love joyfully celebrates honesty[j] and finds no delight in what is wrong.[k] 7 Love is a safe place of shelter,[l] for it never stops believing the best for others.[m] Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up.
And my point of talking on this is to illustrate that this particular verb ”to love” used here in the greek is AGAPE love and this love is love that we choose when we feel least like exhibiting it… So I took note of the ”love is not easily irritated or quick to take offense” and ate a piece of humble pie and apologised for my easily offended critical attitude which has nothing to do with my nearest and dearest’s treatment of me, but much more with my own insecurities. I DID NOT WANT to do it. But I bit the bullet and did. And the whole attitude and atmosphere in my heart was transformed from stompy and cross to soft-hearted calm.
My point is: if we are hungover, ashamed from any over -drinking, plain out of energy because we slept badly because we over indulged…. we cannot – or rather I cannot -often summon up the energy and botheration needed to sort through my own bad attitudes and face them head on and deal with them. Being completely sober and never feeling hungover or slightly off colour or a little shameful (or any of the other ways I can feel when I have been have a few drinks) makes it a whole lot more simple to clarify what is REALLY going on in one’s heart and head.
I could say okay…. no one is looking at you and feeling sorry for you. You are perhaps feeling somewhere sorry for yourself. Get a grip and stop projecting your irritations onto others and take responsibility for them. These are things I may have done as a drinking person, but they would certainly have dragged on and taken hold and done more damage than necessary.
So here’s to the couple who are getting married this afternoon. May they look at the definition of real love that I offer. May we all: the brave non-boozers, the still boozers, the friends and the lurkers all look at that splendid paragraph and remember it.
Have a great weekend.