Embracing the True Self

Embracing My True Self!

“Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to life long slavery.” Hebrews 2:14-15

    The greatest, the most extensive expression of God’s love for each one of us human beings, and for all of his creation was his  where  incarnation-God became human in Jesus. God entered into the world, and experienced the world in all of its grittiness, painfulness, and pain as we do.

    From the moment I step out of my door and hang with my friends of any age, and with each person I encounter–Gary in his sleeping bag, worn from the cold, a young man and woman stretched out in a blanket in front of a closed hardware store, I feel the words of the Thomas Merton in my very bones:

“I was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that I loved all of those  people, that they were mine and I theirs. that we could not be alien to one another even though we were total strangers. It was like waking form a dream of separateness.”

     I  am wounded often, and I wound people as well without meaning to wound and it hurts, I become depressed, exhausted, and simply want to run, but the reality is there is no running. My salvation is being worked out in entering into relationships, the messiness of life, and there is no separateness.

    Father Henri Nouwen describes our struggle:

“The secular or false self is the self that is fabricated, as Thomas Merton says, by social compulsions. “Compulsive” is indeed the best adjective for the false self. It points to the need for ongoing and increasing affirmation. Who am I? I am the one who is liked, praised, admired, disliked, hated, or despised. . . . If being busy is a good thing, then I must be busy. If having money is a sign of real freedom, then I must claim my money. If knowing many people proves my importance, I will have to make the necessary contacts. The compulsion manifests itself in the lurking fear of failing and the steady urge to prevent this by gathering more of the same—more work, more money, more friends.

These very compulsions are at the basis of the two main enemies of the spiritual life: anger and greed. They are the inner side of the secular life, the sour fruits of our worldly dependencies.”

    I wear myself down to the point of exhaustion from my fear of failure with friends, both housed and not housed, my fear of not having enough money, energy, or good health, which leads to social compulsions that are destructive to myself and others. The past week the phone has been off, and I have simply stayed away from people. I will soon enter again following the One who calls us into relationship in all of their messiness into Galilee.

    We all struggle. We are all human beings who fail, but there is One who leads  the way and calls us to continue to try:

“Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to life long slavery.” Hebrews 2:14-15

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Fr. River Damien Sims, sfw, D.Min., D.S.T.

P. O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

www.temenos.org

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