Saturday, October 13, 2012

Love them Anyway - or Hate in TBI

The Golden Rule - Do Unto Others
as You Would Have them Do Unto You.
Do you remember the Golden Rule that we were taught when we were young?  Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  I am sure someone told me this was from Luke 6:31, but I don't remember much about church or Sunday school, or about being young. (This being one of the least awesome benefits of having TBI.) The reason that I show a Ruler, also called a rule, instead of using the standard definition of a rule, being something we have to follow, is the context of Luke 6.  I seems that Jesus is telling us to just treat others they way we want to be treated, but rather it is a different way, a bigger way, to look at the Lords Prayer.  In the Lords prayer we ask God to forgive us as just as we have forgiven others.  In other words, we are not forgiven unless we forgive others.  More on that later.

It came as a shock today when I was looking for some background on a quote from Mother Teresa poem about "Do it Anyway." As it turns out, the poem credited to Mother Teresa was a spiritual re-write of The Paradoxical Commandments by Dr. Kent M. Keith.  The reason I was shocked was because I assumed it was a simple instruction to treat others well. It is not.  It is a total life style change, that requires me to understand what I am about; what my value to others and to God's plan is.  It demands of me more that I can give, yet I give it anyway. Do It Anyway By Keith, Kent M. (Google Affiliate Ad).

Let me start at the beginning.  One of the many oddities of my TBI is the difficulty social activities and driving adds to my daily functioning.  We took a karate trip once to Italy.  Everyone in the group was very social. They hung out, talked and did all the things that my wife really likes to do.  I on the other hand, get massive migraines, get sick, as in power hurling, and even lose vision and to some degree the ability to speak.  If the activity is challenging and long enough, the symptoms might last for weeks.  So when they come up, I leave the situation as quietly as I can.  The only problem is, when you are on tour, in Venice Italy, and you have no short term or long term memory, there is a better than even chance you will get lost, and never find you way back.  No the astute reader will be thinking about now, why not just ask someone the way back.  That would assume you knew the name of your hotel, you remembered where you key is with the name of the hotel, you remembered to bring your wallet with a note it it, and that asking for help from a stranger would not cause to to get even sicker. Putting all that aside, however, I would tell my wife that I was going to go away for a while, or go back to my room.  Then leave, before I made a huge mess of everybody elses trip.  My wife, being the saint that she is, would come too, knowing that I would never make it.  We would then go off and explore on our own.

Much later, I was verbally assaulted by the leader of the group.  One of the great evils that he pointed out about my life, was that I would just walk away from the group on trips, forcing my wife into bad situations.  He thought that was unmanly.  I didn't tell him the truth.  Truth is irrelevant when people have made up their minds.  Just let it go.  He hurt me.  Many years latter I found out that it was only I he wanted to hurt.  My daughter and wife were good people, but I was a pariah.  So my behavior cost me a relationship, and my whole family.  I could have let them continue in their relationship, but that option was never given to me.  My wife the saint again.  So it still hurts. I hate that part of my life, and no one that was involved will ever understand.

We used to train at a friend's school about 1.5 hours away from our house.  He was a Christian and a very good teacher.  He invited us to his staff class, and out of respect and a desire to be one of the boys, my wife and I made the effort.  The class was 8am, so we had to wake up at 5am to get to the class, and then drive 1.5 hours to get there, take the class, with people all of whom were 20 years or more younger than I, and then drive 1.5 hours back.  No biggie.  It was worth it.  Today I found out why we stopped going, and why the relationship broke down.  I always assumed it was because of a business mess up of one of our former friends, but as it turns out, it was not.  It seems that after I drive 1.5 hours I get to experience one of my unique forms of seizure activity, where I start losing my speech, some of my vision in my right eye, and a migraine that takes hours to days to get rid of sets in.  I don't remember this stuff because, well, I have TBI.  Worse than that, the social pressure had a like impact, and the 1.5 hours back also had a cumulative impact. What was the result?  A separation between this friend of long standing and I.  It gets deeper by the year.  Seems no one can understand.  Seems I am expected to man up and face .... or something like that.  That hurts.

Earlier this week I was talking to a friend of mine that also has TBI.  Seems that this is a common experience for us.  I may have known that at one time, but I don't remember.

Back to the Golden Rule.  John 6:27 is an imperative.  Love you enemies and do good to those who hate you.  But the love that Jesus is talking about is super natural Love.  It can only come from the Lord.

It gets worse in 6:28.  Here we are told to pray for those who hurt us, and bless or be a blessing to them.  This one anyone can do.  Do good things for them.

So that means I need to allow this stuff to happen, and not ruin their day with the useless truth.  Just smile, and take it.  Love them anyway.

But it gets worse.  In 6:29 we are told to suck it up when we are assaulted.  They want 1 pound of flesh, offer them 2.  Give more than they would take from you on their own.  What????

But it gets far worse.  In 6:30 we are told to give things to ANYONE who asks, and NEVER try to get it back. Give me a break.  Just give it to them.

Now, finally we are at the golden rule.  Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  This is far more challenging that it seems on the surface.  Jesus means us to never assault anyone for any error.  You know, when you make a horrible mistake, and you go and tell the truth, you are hoping they hug you and forgive you, but instead, they post their hate on facebook.  What did you want?  Forgiveness.  What did you get?  Hate.  Jesus says to not only forgive them, but go the extra mile.  And when you are done, go the extra mile again.

So, what I learned to day was to let it go.  I do karate to help people.  I do help people.  Some of them kick me in the teeth, because they don't understand.  I love them anyway.  They hurt me and mine, but I love them anyway.  Why?  Because I love Jesus, and that is what he did for me.

Love them anyway.

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