Responsibility and the Ability to Respond
I really spent way too much time preparing for Court hearings and trials as a young lawyer, but I didn’t know better and I was terrified to make a mistake. I can’t say that I ever overcame this painful habit, but I guess it didn’t hurt my clients, even though it threw me off-balance and allowed me to neglect almost everything else in my life before the hearing. I came to know that being prepared is a conclusion that I could only make after the trial or hearing when what I couldn’t foresee before it, played out. It took far more than a rehearsed speech or rigid outline of questioning to be a good and effective lawyer; I had to respond to what came up live, from the witnesses testimony or the questions and rulings from the Court. In this way, time and experience allowed me to relax more in the courtroom, and be present to the entire complex universe of human interaction, and absorb it. Then, I could respond to what was alive, and participate with everyone in the room. I sure didn’t win every trial or hearing, but I was fully engaged and present when I was there.
That way of being applied to more than the courtroom, I would come to know. As my life meandered down different paths in my search for place and meaning and connection, something more than having all the right answers was necessary. I needed discernment, because somewhere within my being, I wanted freedom. Freedom from bondage to self, and freedom from the control of others. Little did I know that it would be experiencing both bondage to self and the control of others that was the arena where freedom was born. And it was all an inside job that felt really lonely at times, save for the grace of God which often manifested as enlightened witnesses.
There was a time several years ago when I was very sick, and in bondage to many things. The grace of God found me even there, when I didn’t feel worthy of much and was very self-destructive. I had been to a prayer meeting with some very lovely people and they prayed over me. I was desperate and didn’t even know what to pray for. Even that didn’t matter, because God moved anyway. For the next twenty-four hours or so, I sat alone in my place in an altered state, and I had no mind altering substance in my body. Visions flashed before my eyes like rapid fire movies, and questions that I had pondered for years were answered in a single flash of knowing. It was amazing, and I didn’t talk about it with anyone. At one point, a sword came down before me with great force and smashed a rock in two; I knew then that the sword separated the only two forces that existed, love and fear.
After that experience, I began to feel my way to truth for me, by determining which of those two forces were present, and I tried like heck to listen to love, even when fear spoke louder and tried to paralyze me. I didn’t get well right away either. It took time and more painful experiences for me to integrate that discernment, and to accept responsibility for the way I was perceiving and reacting to life. I wanted to heal in earnest when I began to believe that real love was possible, and that love would give me everything I needed. It was always my choice, how I was to experience something. I was no longer a victim of circumstance.
I have never been harmed by real love, but it took a good deal of work to know what it really was. God did that for me when I couldn’t discern it for myself, because I asked God to. One of the wisest things I ever did was to learn to live with beginner’s mind. I know nothing; show it to me wisdom. Teach me the way of love God.
The Excellence of Love
13 If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift ofprophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 And if Igive all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body [a]to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 [b] bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never fails; but if there are gifts of [c] prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part; 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. 11 When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I [d]became a man, I did away with childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror[e]dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. 13 But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the [f]greatest of these is love.