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We are all seeking something.  What it is?  As I started thinking about the aching in my being, the emptiness, or the “abyss” as Merton calls it, I went first to the “feelings” I constantly seek.  Feelings like simply feeling good. Self Esteem, if you will. Validation is another thing. Comfort, Peace, Purpose and safety are a few other things I nearly destroy my life trying to achieve.  I can see the irony as I write those words. What are all these things connect by?  The common thread running through these words is Love. In reality, these are offshoots of being loved. As any person alive can attest, we will break ourselves to feel love, even empty love.
We may not define it as love.  Comfort, Peace, purpose, validation are all aspects and “side effects” of love.

Seeking these things is not inherently wrong. In fact, it’s not even “not” inherently wrong. Merton points to the tendency of people to find wrong in the world. Wrong in “created” things. People seek what they think is a relationship with God by detaching from the world.  As if living in a log cabin will protect you from your addiction to alcohol.  This is spiritually lazy. As I stated in a previous post [click here], to find perfect love with God, we cannot detach from the things He Created. We must, instead, detach from ourselves. We must recognize and do the work to detach from the insatiable inner ego that seeks to take whatever it can get from the world in order to find love.  This taking without giving is self-centerdness. It, in and of itself is dangerous and empty. Add to this self-centerdness that we often seek from things and people what they cannot give, that is perfect love.

When we seek validation from another person, especially a spouse, we put too much pressure on that person.  Especially if that person is not in perfect union with God (which most people are not).  We seek comfort, peace, validation, etc from people of differing levels of emptiness. We are, in essence, robbing Peter to pay Paul. This is why relationships without God at the center are so fragile. Let’s face it, relationships WITH God in the center are difficult enough. When we seek what only God can give from a person (or substance or thing) it’s like driving a Mac truck on old rope bridge; it’s going to break. It’s not what it was designed for. What we get will sometimes sustain us for a while, but our ego wants more and more. As Merton states: “it’s insatiable”. We break those around us, we empty our bank accounts, and we keep wanting.  Oftentimes, we think we are seeking God.  We, in these moments are actually seeking God among other things to take from. Personally, I have had moments where I sought God as a band-aid.  I wanted to take from God.  I wanted the things of love, comfort, peace, validation from God.  I wanted those things from anything I thought would give to me.  God was just another “person” to help me.  It felt good. It felt right, because it was God.  The thing is, God wasn’t me center.  I didn’t attach myself to Him.  I was attached to an ego of self-centerdness. An insatiable little tyrant that ran the show. I would go through phases where I would white knuckle my way through changes.  I would keep taking from God. He gives.  He loves. But if He’s not inside, if He’s not the center, it’s not enough.  It’s never enough until He is the center.  Until I tell me ego to take a hike and I latch myself to God, can I begin to truly understand what love is.  I feel that today, I am at the very beginning of this journey.

So what does this look like?  It’s a work in progress.  God is at the center.  My tyrant ego is still in there.  I can take my eye off God and feed that ego if I choose. It’s free will. It’s impossible to love God without that free will, so I have to choose to attach myself to God.  I take hold of Him and put Him right at the center of my being. When my ego cries out, I call to God for comfort.  This “economy” is an economy of love. I am seeking love, and God gives it to me.  He also asks me to Love others.  There people who know and love God, and there are people who don’t know God. It is my job to love.  Some people from both “camps” will give love back, some will be indifferent, and some will hate.  God covers the difference in Love. Even “stuff” can deliver God’s love.  If it doesn’t, then through it away. I’m still working on this as it isn’t so clear.  But I know that God created things. Things without inherent evil are tools to be used for love. Things I can enjoy to grow love with others, my family, my customers, and other people. This website is a thing that I can choose to seek validation as a “know it all” or a tool to deliver love to my reader. I cannot deliver that love without God at my center.  That’s the bottom line.

Finally, as I mentioned earlier, I still have a little tyrant ego inside me.  The pain or the emptiness that rears its ugly head will only be a reminder that there is sin in this world. The joy comes from knowing that I have God right here with me. The emptiness is filled with love every time.  Stay with me through this journey.  I am seeking to deepen this understanding and develop a growing and deeper relationship with God.  I know this starts with His word, His community, and prayer.

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