In the end, love

Scrooge, George C. Scott

“In the evening of life, we will be judged on love alone.” St. John of the Cross

But the greatest of these is love.

Charles Dickens was a master story teller who got to the heart of people in such a way that all of us felt that we knew his characters in our real lives. Scrooge was such a fellow. The lens through which he looked at life was one of grudging, criticism, condescension, and he brought ill feelings everywhere he went. The  Christmas Carol unfolds in such a way, as Scrooge sees his life, he is shocked and seemingly unaware of just how dark his influence had been. He longs for redemption and begins to be life-giving, charitable, generous and kind to all in his wake.

Perhaps all of us have Scrooges in our lives. I have had several long term relationships with Scrooges. These life-drainers seem to see me, as a personality fraught with flaws and I feel that no matter what I do, in their presence, I will appear to have many flaws if seen in the wrong light. Do you have anyone in your life like that? I already hope that you are ont like that towards anyone else, because it is so destructive.

I wish Scrooge's transformation would happen in real life, that mean hearted, critical people would become transformed and suddenly repent of hateful ways. I have been immersing myself in the lives of sweet friends and people all over the country lately, I have seen how deeply wounds of insecurity, criticism, hatefulness and anger can be found in so many women I know. It is heart-breaking for me to see how many lovely, beautiful friends suffer under the illusion that they are not acceptable in some form or shape. And this burden haunts them deep inside their hearts as they carry around the burden of lack of acceptance on their heart's door.

Most parents, who have been the ones to create some of this heavy burden.  of these now adults would not say, "I set out to harm my child's psyche so that they could never be whole or feel good about themselves their whole life." And yet, this is the legacy so many have given. Where anger issues, inadequacy and performance demands, or a critical attitude or divorce or family heartbreak and disunity exist, no matter what the cause, heart woulds can often last a life time.

I know I have had to work through some such heart wounds in my own life. And yet, when I have allowed God to heal me, I have found that the end result--when I accept His love and choose not to live in bitterness or dwell in judgment myself,-- is that  God turns it all around and causes my own heart to heal with the result of being much more compassionate and sympathetic for those who need to feel the love and comfort in thier own lives that I needed to feel in my own. God will cause all to work together in our own lives, if we turn to Him. His love and compassion will then be the healing salve in the lives of other friends who are in such pain and need. Yet, I have found that many do not show these wounds, but carry them hidden, deep inside, with a mask on their faces in real life.

Love, I believe, is one of those areas that reflects what we sow we will reap. If we sow love, practice it. cherish it, plant it in the hearts of everyone we meet, we will most likely reap the fruit of love and have deep, encouraging relationships. And so, I have found that my children are so very patient and responsive to me, in spite of my flaws because they know I love them so much and will give them the grace I long for in this limited personality. But if I choose to hold onto attitudes like Scrooge did, I will leave a legacy like he left---people being afraid to be in his presence, avoiding him, not trusting him, talking about him behind his back.

Love is truly the glue to lives that God created us to use--His love is what covers all of our failures, all of our fears, insecurities, past. His love is the mark of our being redeemed and different from everyone else in the world. Love brings life, beauty, hope, comfort, inspiration. Love is the power with which we inspire our children to think they can believe God for a miracle. Love is what will allow our children to believe that the creator of the universe loves them, because they will have felt and understood it from our own lives.

I believe that love withheld or love that is not expressed is almost as destructive as anger or hate. A person who does not say the words, or communicate it or give affection or approval, may as well not feel love deep inside, because unless love is given away--freely, generously, graciously, regularly, it is not felt and so not valid as something hidden. Love must be expressed and given to heal and to bring life.

I do still have those who see me with eyes of a hateful heart, but it makes all the more clear, the gift of precious friends that choose to see the best in me, to love me anyway, to enjoy me in spite of the flaws. I am so very grateful for them. I long to give love to the sweet women I see yearning to know they are ok, hoping that somewhere in their lives that deep down, love will be the salve that heals their long and deep wounds. Oh, that above all else, we may be found to be lovers, as He was. I have been transformed by the generous and gracious love of late of a handful who have taken the time to lavish me with their sweet hearts. It has made me want to remember and to practice more love, because, As St. John of the cross said, "In the evening of life, we will be judged by love alone."