At our parish we had a conference in which a priest from San Francisco came by and gave a talk about the life in Christ. When asked about love and what it is he stated that love should not be based on feelings that are fleeting but instead sacrifice. In todays society it seems so much based on feelings that it is almost impossible to know what is sacrifice. As a new parent I find myself making more and more sacrifices for this little bundle then I ever did in my life without him. It makes me wonder what kind of person I was before I was a parent and was I really blind to what love really is. Now this little person has transformed my life in the little time he has been here. I now am forced to make sacrifices like getting up at 3 am to get him back to sleep, or even trying to get him to sleep takes a sacrifice because the process seems so long on some nights. It takes a great deal of patience to not get mad because you just spend all this time trying to get a baby to sleep just to have your cat come by and meow and wake him up so you can start the process all over again. I can see now how being married in an Orthodox church and being a monastic in an Orthodox church has its similarities. My recent discovery was confirmed when my husband and I were taking turns trying to get him to sleep and after 2 hours he finally went to sleep and my husband stated that this was like a monastic matins service so we should have just gotten the service books out and made a vigil out of it. It made me think about love and sacrifice. Is it the same thing? Do we sacrifice out of love?
Being a mother I see love in a different way, now I see it more of a sacrifice. I love my little one and because of that I sacrifice more for him, so for me love and sacrifice go hand in hand. (in the mothering department at least) As Christians we are called to even love our enemies, so the tricky part is how do I bring that love that is sacrificial towards people that do not make me feel all cozy inside? We all have our fair share dealing with people we cannot stand. I try to treat my enemies with respect and think about how I would like to be treated but my pride and judgment always ruins me. As I ponder on this thought a little while longer bam it hits me as I drink my tea… “Love has no boundaries” hmmm interesting. With Lent just around the corner, it is the perfect time to think about others rather than being stuck in ME mode and thanks to the great mercy of God I get a chance to practice sacrificing out of love to even my enemies. Each year it seems like Lent is harder and harder. Christ seems to show us our sins one sin at a time. As we grow each year we can only stand to see how horrible we are a little layer at a time. Oh the Great Fast! It is a great time of the year.