I have reached an age where I have lost too many loved ones and acquaintances. I think about them a lot and miss them every day. I miss everything about them, their entire being, including characteristics that I may not have appreciated when they were alive. I never think, “I miss the way they did this, but I don’t miss the way they did that.” Everything is part of the whole person that I love and miss so much. Why don’t I always feel that way about people who are in the world with me now?
Since childhood, I have known Jesus’ commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves. I know I should always look at everyone, no exceptions, through a prism of love and I should act accordingly. And yet I sometimes feel anxious if someone disagrees with me or does something in a way that I might not. That anxiety can lead me to judging the other person in a negative way and not loving them in that moment for who they are and not who I want them to be. Judging others can also make me afraid to open my heart and mind to them. I once read that Rowan Williams asks himself two questions when he meets someone: “What can I learn from this person?” and “How can I love this person?” This Lenten season, I will pray for God’s help in finding the courage to change so that, like the former Archbishop, I will seek only to learn from and love all others. By so doing, I hope to become someone who opens her heart to everyone and acts without fear.