Tuesday, August 10, 2010

One thing to live for

Thomas Merton wrote in 1947, "There is only one thing to live for: love.  There is only one unhappiness: not to love God."

Words so easy to read and say, they are almost glib.  But then, once you start thinking about them, kind of mind-blowing!!  It is about purpose, and ultimately about peace and then, I think, about joy.  I wonder what it would be like to live so unfettered, so undistracted, that one is completely focused on living for the purpose and object, perhaps, of love. 

It seems to me that, though I would like to be able to say I understand and agree and experience what Merton says here, I can only say, I want that to be true of me.  Instead, the reality is that I fear a spiritual ADHD has invaded my being.  I long to be "all about loving and serving God,"  but I find myself too easily more concerned about getting things done, making people like me, counting on the patience of God, at least unconciously, if not intentionally to wait until I can regain a right perspective. 

Sunday Jim talked about the emptiness and aloneness of a life apart from faith in God, both now and in eternity.  Those words have been loitering around in the corners of my mind ever since, and when I slow down enough to think, they are like some kind of horror movie - the blackness, the heavy bellied sickness, the desperation and futility of what it would be like to have a life without relationship with God.  It is one thing to have regret for having failed my God, for knowing I have offended or disappointed Him.  It is another thing entirely to not have Him at all. I praise you God for your everlasting mercies, and I thank you for loving me.

Loving God brings an enduring happiness.  How we must grieve God when we turn away from His face because we prefer the pity of men, the attention of men, when He wants our face, to shine His love on, to receive His love.  We blow Him off like a piece of lint and wallow in our "issues," when we could have sweet peace and joy immeasurable.

Enough letters on paper.  I need, not to seek His face, because it is near, but to appreciate His presence.