I have long held that love is in the showing up. There are people in my life who I do not know how to love well, so I show up for them. It is all I know to do, and I have told myself it is enough.
It is Holy Week, which comes in with triumphant rejoicing and leaves with triumphant rejoicing but in between is a long, losing battle.
I think there must be more to love than showing up, because I am showing up and it is empty.
Usually I feel like I am a pretty good person, at the very least able to conceal my most heinous sins under a veneer of piousness and sacrifice. Every once in a while, though, a public sin slips through the cracks, a humiliating reminder to everyone in my life that I am imperfect.
Probably most everyone in my life does not need the reminder. I do.
The sin that most often slips through is anger, my short fuse and hot temper that sometimes lash viciously at friends, coworkers, even occasionally strangers. This week, I yelled at a poor, unsuspecting hairdresser. She rallied and actually did an excellent job on my hair, but I couldn’t take back the irrational things I had said. I tipped her well, but that only covers so many sins.
A friend of mine, Catie, had recommended this hairdresser to me. I texted her that I liked the cut, and she responded with, “Nice, I’ll mention you when I go in a couple weeks.” I off-handedly mentioned that she may not want to mention her connection to me given my minor freak out and she responded with, “Hahaha. I would never be ashamed of you, friend!”
The conversation then turned to where to find matzah in Nashville.
Today I told a different friend the hairdresser story, mostly as a self-deprecating anecdote. I told about texting Catie and suggesting she not affiliate herself with me, and to my surprise, started tearing up as I told of her reply.
“She said, ‘I would never be ashamed of you.’ And… I am so ashamed of me.”
I apologized and looked up into my friend’s eyes. She was tearing up too.
“I think that’s the Gospel,” she said. “He died to show us that He will never be ashamed of us.”
It is the middle of Holy Week and it feels like a long losing battle. Old sins I thought I had conquered are finding footholds in corners of my heart I didn’t know about. And I am so ashamed of me.
But He Who Formed My Heart, who knows all my deepest longings and fears, who knows my pride and lies and selfishness, He is not ashamed of me. I am tearing up even now as I write this.
He is not ashamed of me.
Love is, perhaps, more than showing up.
Perhaps it requires a knowing, an intimacy. Perhaps even in the knowing, Love says, “I would never be ashamed of you.”
A commitment for the long, losing battle and a promise that will stand in the victory.
Photo by Dim Sum! via flickr.