(L)aying down (O)ne’s (V)ainglorious (E)go

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It’s something I do when no one is watching, when the road’s empty and no one is around — I close my eyes and continue to walk. Cheap thrills, one that keeps me on tenterhooks lest someone catches me behaving this silly. Because which sane person would try to walk with their eyes closed? They are surely going to fall or meet up with an accident, injure themselves and probably even others.

One knows the formula by heart, but always fails to apply it when the situation demands. Why do we, you and I, walk through life with our eyes closed? Hearts shut to the truths staring right at our faces? Our brains refusing to believe the reverent whispers passed down through the decades? Why do we refuse to love one another when it is one of the greatest commandment given by God (John 13:34-35)? Why does loving turns to mere survival, survival of the fittest?

I always felt I was treading through life with eyes wide open, until I realised when the author of the book I am currently hooked on to, challenged its readers to undertake this simple exercise. Replace the word love with your name in one of Bible’s most famous verses (1 Corinthians 13:4-8). Here’s how the score board looked after I was done:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud…. (Umm, 4 out of 10).

Just yesterday, I wanted to literally stab someone in the back because they were breathing down my neck as we stood together in a congested space. The weather was breezy and pleasant, but my mood was anything but that. It’s an easy ride to exercise kindness when things are going your way, but the real test is when you find yourself in situations that test your sanity. And I was close to losing mine.

It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs… (3 out of 10).

At church this Sunday, I met a friend of a friend who at one point of my life was involved in some nasty business. It wasn’t her fault, but the episode left a bad after taste and after that incident, I always assume she and her friends don’t trust me. So whenever I come across any one of them, the first thought that comes to my mind: “I bet they regret seeing me and might now be feeling very very awkward. Do they still blame me for what happened?”

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres… (5 out of 10)

But I don’t always hope, trust, protect… I fall too many times in comparison to the times I have managed to hold my ground. Since I let panic strike fear in my heart, I am always at the losing end. Be it being late for a work deadline or thinking about what I am going to be doing next in my life, trusting that God has things in control sometimes takes a backseat.

Love never fails…. (1 out of 10)

I fail every time and these results are more visible when it comes to my family. I always let them down, always hurt them, always do what I am not supposed to do. And though I regret my actions, the cycle repeats.

 

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It’s like I am giving into the cheap thrills that can harm me and others anytime. Why? Because it’s not like anyone cares and, on other occasions, why should I make life a piece of heaven for others when I went through hell? Why should I strive to make others believe in the stories that are full of love, hope, joy… when they never extend the same love and warmth? 

To Lucy Barfield
My Dear Lucy,

I wrote this story for you, but when I began it I had not realised that girls grow quicker than books. As a result you are already too old for fairy tales, and by the time it is printed and bound you will be older still. But some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again. You can then take it down from some upper shelf, dust it, and tell me what you think of it. I shall probably be too deaf to hear, and too old to understand, a word you say, but I shall still be

your affectionate Godfather,
C.S. Lewis

 

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To have a child-like understanding, child-like wonder in fairytales, child-like faith in tales of our every day living; why is such a living essential for love to survive?

Perhaps, because someday our actions of love might matter. Someday you and I will remember and crave for the love in whose image we are made. These stories from the Bible might just be fiction to many, but the believing hearts, the ones that bleed and yet try to love… they will remember what C.S. Lewis was trying to tell his grandfather… You love someone, because that’s the most natural thing to do, even when the other person might never love you back. Even when their only intention is to tear you down. You might think you are not a child to indulge in wishful thinking, but someday you will go down the memory lane and dust those pages of the book that glorified love, love that made the father sacrifice his son to save mankind. Because love is always about someone else.

Love is not just a decision, but it is also the act of Laying down One’s Vainglorious Ego; the vain ego that doesn’t understand that LOVE is never spelt with an ‘I’ because it is never about ‘I’. 

Here’s a song, Lay Me Down by Chris Tomlin, that might put things in a clearer perspective than my never-ending rant:

With this heart open wide
From the depths from the heights
I will bring a sacrifice
With these hands lifted high
Hear my song hear my cry
I will bring a sacrifice

I lay me down
Im not my own
I belong to you alone
Lay me down
Lay me down
Hand on my heart
This much is true
There’s no life apart from you

Letting go of my pride
Giving up all my rights
Take this life and let it shine
Take this life and let it shine

 

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