A joy in an enduring relationship is how new ideas are shared. Happened yesterday when Mike Murray and I had our monthly breakfast at Jim’s. Jim’s is one of those places always enjoyed—great prices for us in the 55 and older crew, and the food is always better than good. And, it’s not one of those restaurants where they hand you a menu and a fly swatter.
We shared personal events [He promised to visit us in Seattle—that’s better than welcomed.] and then shifted to what gives life its essence.
Let me say that Mike, ordained in Presbyterian tradition, has been consultant to churches and businesses for over 40 years. I remember how helpful he was during my conference ministry years in leading seminars in “dealing with retirement,” “what makes for effective ministry,” and “living with relevance.”
It was the latter topic we discussed. To which he shared a new concept—a new learning—a new appreciation for our friendship.
We both agreed that perhaps what’s most important in living with relevance is knowing a key part of the Commandment from Jesus, to love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and strength and your neighbor as yourself.
The key part: THAT ENTIRE COMMANDMENT relies upon how we deal with the words: as yourself. Even more direct, how self-love goes then guides and empowers [or weakens] our love for God and neighbor.
I then inquired: So, that means we tend to lean in one of two directions? That is, we are either selfless or selfish?
Mike then offered a great lesson he learned from Harles Cone when they spoke at a Fred Pryor Seminar—an insight I never considered before, but will now never forget: Mark, there is a middle area…and it should be considered as helpful. Most often we hear from pulpits and perhaps from our own heart that we are to consider and reduce the needs of others. That means selfless becomes a mandate. And then there are people—and some of us drift there occasionally, where, to use a psychiatric term, we are a narcissistic behavior disorder. Which means EVERYTHING happens in answer to the question, “How can I benefit in any instance?” This moment or even life style never asks the question, “How can I help you?”
But, and I hope more people would recognize it: there are times we MUST ask, what do I NEED in my life now? What has to happen in order for me to have more life, more value, more hope and more joy? THAT middle area I call HEALTHY SELFNESS. We each should have those moments when we regard the self and how to get better, which logically and with great evidence, will help us function healthily when we are selfless.
How good is that?
Thanks, Mike, for you have given me a new lens through which Diane and I can respond to the call within to head to Seattle and be giving and sharing. Yes, indeed.
[Now, of course, not every part of God’s creation are pleased with our decision…i.e. the fish are furious, because most of them don’t know Diane and I catch and release them. But, they’ll learn.]
So, it’s now tapping into healthy selfness. Hope you do some tapping yourself. Possible? Well, more, maybe even necessary.