Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Redefining Identity at Age 30...

I thought this was what the early 20s were for...

Confession time: 
I've never seen myself as a particularly caring person. 
Passionate, yes; caring, not really.

Me in one of my Fiercest Mama moments!
I've always admired people who could care for others - especially the frail and infirm of all ages. As a young person I was a little shocked at how indifferent I felt. 

Even when I had my first daughter I wasn't overwhelmed with love as some moms describe - it took a couple of incidents that awakened my inner 'mama bear' for me to see that I loved my daughter with the fiercest love I've ever known. It got much easier with my second...

I am passionate about justice and fairness and sustainability and other such things. For example, I do my utmost to only buy clothes made locally as cheap imported clothing undermines local industries. I can't complain about unemployment and crime if my actions are contributing to the problem. The thing is, this passion arose more out of a sense of justice than out of love.

But, as I start to move into a more directly caring vocation - doula work specifically - and as I try to practise empathy in disciplining my daughters, in a sense as I start to do the work of caring, I find myself becoming a more genuinely caring person. 
I find myself overwhelmed with love and empathy for complete strangers.
I do think it has something to do with the fact that I feel like I'm coming out of a spiritual hibernation. A couple of months ago I had a picture of myself as a 'mama bear' (not that we even have bears here in South Africa!) climbing out of her den (do bears live in dens?) and stretching and blinking in the sunlight. She was on the thin side, and a little weak, but she was enjoying the warmth and the promise of newness and life.

So maybe it has something to do with this spiritual re-awakening - as I lean into this infinite love, strength and wisdom more and more, so I can give love, strength and wisdom into the lives of others. Perhaps I had practiced indifference because I just felt the weight of suffering too keenly. But as I start to understand this Saviour who carried all the suffering that ever was or ever could be, who could empathize to the utmost, so I start to see how I don't have to be paralysed by the suffering of others because he already carried their suffering in himself - and so I can truly be free - free to love with a fierce love, rather than a desperate love.

1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful picture you had! It's a beautiful thing that Christ did for us, setting us free!