Take Heart: Lessons Learned the Hard Way

“I’m so sorry!” I plead.

“Stop apologizing, just don’t do it anymore!” she yelled back.

“Wow, don’t get all short with me. What the heck,” I snapped back.

There was tension between all of us because each person was so consumed in their own thoughts and hurt, only getting relief by projecting that on to the person nearest to them. I went home that night wondering what the heck changed. A few months ago all of us would go to mass together, then brunch, then just sit laughing and chatting about life.

What put us all in this place where we couldn’t see past ourselves? When did we begin to get increasingly hurtful towards each other and ourselves?

For me the solution was simple–I certainly wasn’t going to take the blame for my actions. I was just going to continue to apologize to band-aid over what was going on underneath.

But this did not solve anything and things just continued to spiral downhill. Conversations between us became more and more vain, always attention seeking. I noticed that I felt the constant need to one-up my own friends. Accountability also spiraled downhill. I noticed I would be begging my friends to let me have “one more drink” every time we went out. Because what’s the big deal? I wasn’t stopping them, so why should they stop me, right?

This went on for a few weeks. Until the MOST BRUTAL reality check hit me straight in the face: I had completely lost my ability to love myself, therefore losing the ability to love others.

I was living in a world of comfort. Of FALSE comfort and FALSE love. Of course I was going to feel empty. I was letting myself be “loved” by the drunk guy who wanted to dance with me at the bar. I was feeling superior by making others feel inferior (including my own friends). So naturally if this is the only “love” I had for myself, it is the only “love” I could give to others.

So you are probably wondering why I just rambled on and on about these problems. Well here is why. This past summer taught me a lot. It taught me a lot about what the world says about truth, beauty, and love.

I let myself (and my friends) believe the lies of the world. I believed in order to have fun I needed to be four drinks in, or to be beautiful I needed at least three guys to try to dance with me. This is the kind of love the world tells us we need–this is the comfortable kind of love.

First, beauty is an INTRINSIC good. It isn’t defined by the brand of makeup you have or the size clothes you wear. Second, love and lust are very different things. Love is not the guy drooling over you at the bar. True love knows no limits; it never fails. Its the kind of love on the cross. A Christ-like love. Lastly, the truth is you deserve way more than this world could ever offer.

So often we start living for the things of the world and for the empty promises that are right at our fingertips; the false hopes of love and acceptance. Truth is rooted in a God that is so much bigger than the promises of this world. A God that gives us unfailing love. Who gives us unending joy. When our eyes are focused on him we find true love and are able to give that love to others. This is the love I was lacking, the love that I was unable to give to my friends. The love that this world tries to take from us.

The world gives us comfort, but we were made for greatness.

Friends, let your true beauty radiant in all you do. Love fearlessly. Live in the light of truth.

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