‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Matthew 22:37-39)
The recent sermon series on flourishing underscored how deeply destabilizing these past two years have been. Some intentional recalibration has been required of all of us if we are to move onward towards the “abundant life” which Christ envisions for us (John 10:10). As part of my own recalibration, I have begun work towards a Masters of Clinical Psychology degree, with a license to practice counseling in Colorado. It is a wonderful chance to meet new people and dig deeper into a field that has interested me for a long time!
Just last week, my classmates and I completed the first of our nine semesters in the program. At this point on our journey, one of our professors made an unexpected suggestion – that we write a letter to ourselves. The letter would describe our current perspectives and feelings – what’s on our mind, what’s exciting us and what are our concerns. The letter would then be tucked away to be opened again – on graduation day. “I LOVE that!” Charla said about the assignment. Others also instinctively felt the sweet goodness of this letter-writing assignment.
So what is so heartwarming about seeing a vignette from the past, right at a moment of fulfillment? I think such a looking-back is heartwarming because we look back at our former selves with compassion, gratitude and respect – realizing the role those prior selves have played in bringing us to who we are today and what, by God’s grace, has been accomplished. We can see how we have continued to grow, and we can love ourselves.
In addition to looking back from our peak moments, let’s remember to see our “every day” selves with compassion, gratitude and respect every step of the way. In doing so, we fulfill one of Christ’s greatest commandments.