Frederick Buechner reminds us that “the biblical view of the history of humankind and of each individual man or woman is contained in the first three chapters of Genesis. We are created to serve God by loving God and each other in freedom and joy, but we invariably choose bondage and woe instead as prices not too high/ to pay for independence. To say that God drove Adam and Eve out of Eden is apparently a euphemism for saying that Adam and Eve, like the rest of us, made a break for it as soon as God happened to look the other way.”
We seem to be hardwired to try to take over control, to be God. This is the direction of most of my sins. As I think of all my offences, the evil I have done, the harm I have done consciously or unconsciously, the friends, the family members I have hurt. I make amends when I can for the harm I have done, but mostly I try to make living amends. I want to let others know how I have been loved even when I felt unlovable or did unlovable things. I want to hold closely the Christ in others and let them know what a treasure they are. I want to be able to see the Christ in others. This is what spiritual friends and those in 12 step recovery are called to do for each other. We affirm, stand by each other.
More often now I am paying it forward. For many reasons I cannot make amends to the person I have harmed but instead I try to show the love I wish I could now give to them to someone else. Paying forward is showing love to someone else that has done nothing for me, especially someone we do not know and often someone who feels loveless.
I try, I judge, I make mistakes, I mess up, I hurt others, I make amends, I try to show love that has been so often unconditionally given to me, and the cycle invariably seems to start all over again. It is a circular path. I try, I mess up, I make amends. It is the human condition. I try to stay connected to this circular pathway of others who know more than I know how to love so that I can learn from them. I try to stick with the winners, /those whom I can so easily see Christ in them, and occasionally they can see the Christ in me which guides me back onto the path of love. Today I now learn most about how to love from my six grandchildren. What a circular life, for I first learned about love from my four grandparents many years ago.
I return to Buechner who so beautifully reminds us that “if God really wanted to get rid of us, (to kick us out of Eden), the chances are/ God wouldn't keep hounding us every step of the way ever since.”
(Frederick, Buechner, Humankind, Frederick Buchner Quote of the Day, May 28, 2018. Originally published in Wishful Thinking and later in Beyond Words)