Formation Fridays: Loveable
Off to the left of my apartment there is a plum tree. I love that tree in the spring. For a week, its blooms are a beautiful pink hue that stands so vividly that it is breathtaking. I don’t usually pay it much attention in the winter though; It’s branches are bare and skeletal. Not much to look at, if you ask me.
However, the other day I was walking back into my apartment after coming home from the gym. I looked up at those stark branches and there were two birds flitting about. To my eyes, it looked like they were playing together. It brought a moment of joy and I said a quick prayer of thanks for God sharing in the play of these creatures with me. But something deeper was revealed to me as I thought about that moment of joy around those birds.
They were just simply being what they are, and God shared with me the joy that comes from appreciating things for what they are. It made me think about myself and my constant reach for self-improvement. I had just come from the gym, where I work my body until it cannot take it anymore to improve myself. I have shelves of books filled with knowledge to improve myself. I am constantly working at improving myself.
We all do this. We all try and try and try to be better people, in one way or another. And I’m not saying that we shouldn’t strive to be the best versions of ourselves that we can be. The problem is our motivation, because deep down, maybe even on a subconscious level, we think that someone won’t love us if we don’t lose those 5 pounds, articulate ourselves well enough, have a nice enough car, or have a big enough house, or what-have-you.
What I find so striking is that God doesn’t care about any of that. Sometimes I forget that God is happy with me just because I am me. I forget that a tree gives glory to God just by being a tree. A bird gives glory to God by simply being a bird. But people try to give glory to God by building things, by improving themselves, by conquering, by subduing, by mastering. Somehow we feel like we have to earn it.
St. Irenaeus once said, “The glory of God is the human person fully alive.” Me simply being me, being present in my strengths and in my flaws, is being fully alive. Me giving my all is fully alive. Sharing in life with others is fully alive.
I have something to learn from those birds.
Peace and love,