Human beings are made for connection, but more importantly we are built for attachment—bonding. For better or worse we get tied up in things and people. They impact our souls, re-frame our perspectives, establish our roots to the outside world. Our loves define us in ways we don’t even understand and with each attachment to thing or person our hearts are being formed. We are made by what we love. To be made new, then, we must love new things and in doing so, retrain our hearts.
Neighbors is more than those people who you share a fence with. Neighbors are the people we choose to have physical, emotional and ideological proximity to. They are the real people with which we actively choose to share our lives with--who they are affects us and who we are affects them. The soul-boundary between neighbors is porous and passes traits from one side of the fence to the other.
Family carries us from one end of our life to the other. We all have the family that made us and the family we make. The first we are submitted to its good and evil whether we prefer it or not and the second we choose to submit to as an act of service to build something timeless in the world. Unreflected upon, we carry our family of origin directly into our family of making carrying on the "sins of the Father." Because of this transmission of values, the arena of family is a space wrought for transformation.
Our search for connection, intimacy, adventure and expression find some of their most expressive points in erotic love. Sexual intimacy cuts us to the core because it connects all of a person, heart, body, soul, mind. It is one of our most powerful loves and has much to do with what kind of cultural wake we leave behind us. Sex is a love wrapped in velcro. It attaches to everything it's close to, transforms them and (more importantly) is transformed by them.
It seems wrong to have just one of the 36 words represent the sole force in the universe capable of remaking a human life. And for those just grazing through the words this little gem might get lost in the sea of others, but this is intentional. The divinely-given, radical, unmerited favor which surrounds us and makes us into being is both ever-present and shy. It cannot be forced upon a person but must be chosen in an act of surrender. We cannot be what we were meant to be without this one love.
Eventually our comforts become worship sites. Our favorite drink, our preferred touch. Fueled by anxiety, they become an object of obsession. Because all love is an act of submission to something we've given powerful worth, altars are the places where we've offered that worthiness in the hopes of getting a greater worth in return. Altars are the places we worship, make sacrifices and expect it to give us something of real life in return.
As grace permeates our lives and we begin to see ourselves as ones deeply loved, we being to develop a unique kind of other-centered love. In THIRTYSIXWORDS parlance we call this empathy. This ability to see others through their own perspective, to understand them as they would understand themselves goes beyond pity or even kindness. It is a deep and penetrating love that allows us to finally see people for who they are instead of seeing manifestations of ourselves or of our past stories.