Love Like a … Glacier

Background photo by Jay Galvin, via Flickr Creative CommonsHaving two bright girls who love school provides for interesting dinner table talk. Gift 2 has been most excited about her science class project, in which she has chosen to make a model of a plateau. (I don’t remember doing this stuff in fourth grade. Do you?) More specifically, the Allegheny Plateau, which touches five states, including the Hocking Hills region of our great state of Ohio. Gift 1 didn’t believe a plateau could be that big, but the hubby and I reminded her of the Grand Canyon.

I bring this up because one of the Facebook “friends” I’ve never met posted the following status: Despite evidence to the contrary, I still think love is gonna win.

I agree, so I said: Love moves slower, but the changes it makes last longer and are more beautiful. Think glaciers and the Grand Canyon.

(Except that the Grand Canyon wasn’t formed by glaciers. Oops.)

The principle is still the same, though. I love how the video above ends: Given enough time, all rocks – no matter how settled they may appear – are subject to change.

“Love is patient.” It’s the first thing Paul writes in his list of love’s redeeming qualities. And by redeeming, I mean the redeeming work love does to us.

I used to pray for G_d to help me want to change, because I knew I didn’t want it enough yet. I felt frighteningly settled in my mediocrity and unable to free myself from complacency and bad habits. I still have a lot of those bad habits, but I’ve learned something over the years. Lasting change doesn’t come by beating myself up, by making myself feel less-than in order to be-more. The most significant work in my heart toward myself was a tortuously slow but relentless assault of loving me the way I was. While the occasional “tough love” type of conflict helped, the greatest healing came through friends who gently denied me the words I used to hurt myself. And while it must have, must have been frustrating and wearisome for them to keep contradicting me and pouring out compassion, their patience won out.

I learned to realize I really am the beloved, that I am seen as precious and valuable.

Now, the temptation to beat myself up is still there. I am in a particular set of circumstances that is challenging my identity and sense of worth. I think there will always be something present in my life to point to as evidence that I’m not enough and never will be. But I have learned that G_d takes a longer view through different lenses, and I know that practicing self-love means waiting for the feelings to exhaust themselves. I am patient with myself. Meanwhile, I talk, I write, I pray.

Glaciers inch their way across continents, changing the landscape beneath them. “All rocks … are subject to change.” My inner being is being moved and transformed inch by glacial inch toward everlasting splendor. Love will win, because it already has.