Follow-up to Stephen Edwards’ WYW?
By Stephen: It was an honor to share my why on Sunday and I cannot tell you how grateful I am for this community that allows voices like mine and Kevin’s to be heard so openly and with such support. I spoke about my upbringing in an environment where the judgement of God seems to override the love of God. Please do not misinterpret all of that, as there was so much emphasis on God’s love. I have always felt a profound connection with the message of love, but did not fully understand its impact until I recognized who I am.
The opening and closing poem of my why is from a Female Muslim Sufi, Rabia. You can look her up and glean from her wisdom – but I thought I would again include this adaptation of her words:
I know about love the way the fields know about light,
the way the forest shelters us.
We are vulnerable like an infant.
We need each other’s care or we will suffer.
How will you ever find peace unless you yield to love?
Did you hear the challenge on Sunday – the challenge to recognize the things that you put on yourself that keep you from truly and fully yielding to love? I would encourage you to take a few minutes to imagine what it is like to be free…really free: free to move through every moment without abandon. Is it scary? Is it filled with hope? What would you have to give up to experience it? What pressures or beliefs do you place on yourself that keep you from yielding to love?
I grew up with a lot of “have to”s. To be a good Christian you have to – give money back to church, be nice to this or that person, care for the less fortunate…all are beautiful and noble things. A “bad person” is one that has too much money, too much power, too much (you fill in the blank, because if you are like me, you have a lot of people who have told you how you are a bad person/bad Christian). However, when we yield to love – and truly experience unconditional love – we cannot help but respond by caring for the other. We cannot help but to talk about the life-changing encounter that sets us free. We cannot help but to feed the hungry and clothe the poor and give to the things we believe will make the largest impact—because we are on the journey to become unconditional love.