Together in Spirit

Browsing From the Desk of Fr. Mike

Accepting Others as They Are

May 20, 2019

My mother was a back seat driver of the highest proportion. At almost every intersection she would gasp as she waited for the impact of the on-coming car, even if there were no cars at the intersection. Driving faster than 30 miles an hour was incredibly risky calling for short gasps of breath and the warning to slow down. This did not change over time, and in fact it intensified. After my father died, I became one of her regular drivers. Whenever I picked her up I would remember my father’s words: “it is who your mother is, she is not going to change, so you have to.” He would seldom complain about driving her about, but whenever he and I would go fishing (mom was not in the car) he would say it sure was nice to drive normally.

It was moments like this that I slowly learned how to love. When I was much younger, I expected that in the interaction between people both would change to meet the other’s expectations. This was how my relationship with God was based; he was giving me time to become more perfect. The problem was that I never got perfect enough. (At least in my mind). As I grew older I began to appreciate my father’s wisdom, (she’s not going to change, so you have to) and I began to apply that to my relationship with God. There were certain things in my life that just were not going to change and God was still loving me as I am. The more I could accept the sense of His love, I began to discover that through His love for me as I am, the doorway would open for me to find possibilities to change. It was through His love for me that I could become a new person. On my own this was impossible, but in relationship with Him all things were possible.

God calls us to love, and in doing so, He is not asking for anything extraordinary. He calls us to accept others as they are, not as we expect them to be. To meet them where they are is one of the boldest acts of love we are capable of. I learned this in the ordinary and wonderful love of a husband and wife.

 

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