It’s easy to love people far away
Earlier this week, I had a falling out with a relative. We haven’t spoken since. I’ve been praying about this (though my prayers are admittedly along the lines of “DID YOU SEE THAT?! I am NOT going to apologize. I did not do ANYTHING wrong…”), and I keep getting this nagging feeling that I’m supposed to do something here, and it’s not whine about it more to my husband. As much as it galls me to admit it, I think I’m called to humble myself and re-initiate conversation, even though some pretty bizarre/rude/untrue insults were said to me and it’s my opinion that the other party is 100% in the wrong.
Interestingly, about a month ago a similar situation played out with this same person and I was actually able to immediately call them and offer an olive branch, even though, once again, it was my opinion that I’d been gravely insulted for no reason. The person admitted that they were just upset about something else and we had a beautiful, love-filled conversation about how much we cared about one another. But that was back before the spiritual dry spell. Now my attitude is that I have checked the “forgiveness and humility” box once and now I’m over it. Isn’t that the way it’s supposed to work? We turn the other cheek once to prove to God we’re serious and then he’ll prevent annoying things from happening to us forever more?
Anyway, every time I try to forget about the whole thing and go back to sulking, this quote from Mother Teresa keeps coming to mind:
It is easy to love the people far away. It is not always easy to love those close to us. It is easier to give a cup of rice to relieve hunger than to relieve the loneliness and pain of someone unloved in our own home. Bring love into your home for this is where our love for each other must start.
I’m sort of a living testament to the first part of this quote right now. I would happily go on a mission to feed the poor, to spread the Gospel in hostile territory, to state unpopular opinions for Christ, give gobs of money to charity (if I had it), defend the truth of Christianity to a group of atheists, write and talk and think about how great God is…anything, anything but actually showing love to someone close to me who is on my last nerve.
I think this is yet another manifestation of the “start by carrying the crosses you already have” lesson, one that Tienne was talking about recently. To act in humility, love and charity when you don’t want to, when it’s not fun, when you don’t even feel God’s presence there with you…that’s hard! That’s painful! That’s inconvenient! …And that’s Christianity.