I wish I could tell you…
How I’ve been laying up at night thinking about my childhood. You have always said how you’ve loved me but now that I have my own children I know the truth. You can’t love me – at least not the way I’ve needed it. Just like I will never be a perfect parent. I can only hope and pray that my children won’t need as much therapy as I did.
Friends, have you experienced the fallibility of human love?
Fallible means liable to be erroneous or capable of making a mistake according to Merriam-Webster. And because I’m not sure what erroneous means, I’ll look that up too. (Containing or characterized by error; the archaic definition listed, interestingly, is wandering).
Oppositely, infallible means incapable of error. I’ve heard God described this way.
How often I’ve placed expectations on my loved ones to be perfect; the perfect father, mother, brother, friend, husband. When they don’t live up to these expectations I have to admit that sometimes I don’t handle it well. Sometimes it keeps me up at night. Sometimes I replay scenarios over and over again in my mind and dream of being the kind of person I don’t want to be. You know, the one who says something rude on Christmas and then storms off with a plate of cookies and the last slurp of eggnog.
In recovery, there’s a prayer read in many circles. It’s written by the ragamuffin, St. Francis (for those who know Brennan Manning, I’m not being heretical here). It’s one of those punch you in the gut prayers that in reciting sometimes shakes me out of my relational fogginess; wakes me up again to the truth. God, I love recovery.
The Prayer of St. Francis
Lord make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
And where there is sadness, joy
O divine master grant that I may
not so much seek to be consoled as to console
to be understood as to understand
To be loved as to love
For it is in giving that we receive
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned
And it’s in dying that we are born to eternal life
Or another way to see it as Jesus did, too: forgiveness can be hard and downright painful – but it is the only way to love.
Phew. Deep breath.
So this relationship or these relationships I’ve been struggling with need some St. Francis. They need some forgiveness, Jesus-style. And thank God that in my fallibility (yes, I make mistakes, too), I’m given the grace to love and forgive even when its hard and the last thing I want to do.