I recently finished an amazing, life-changing read:
Gandhi the Man:
The Story of His Transformation
This was a few weeks ago. Looking back, was I so receptive to his ideals and principles because I was at peace with everyone in my life? Loving everyone seemed so easy. Truth and nonviolence, ahimsa and satyagraha.
I was naive.
Gandhi says that our ability to truly love, real charity, Christ-like love, is only attainable when we "reduce ourselves to zero." WE, our selfish-self, doesn't get in the way, preventing us from truly loving mankind, individually. That seems so far-reaching, so unattainable, but reading this book left me with the opposite feeling. I felt so hopeful, so motivated. I learned about Gandhi before his transformation and knew that if he could change his life so completely, through constant trial and error, than I could, too.
I have to laugh at myself for thinking it's so easy. Everything seems easy when life is good. I look back to Sunday night. We're driving home from Utah. It's dark, Ben's driving, and I'm hoping to flip on a light and lose myself in a book. I say, "Hey, can I turn on this light so I can read?" He says, "No." I flinch. He didn't see, but I did. He said no! What does he expect me to do for 3 1/2 hours (I know, I could talk to him, but I really wanted to read my book)? I put my legs up, leaned my head back, closed my eyes, and refused to talk to him for 3 hours. We're 30 minutes from home and he asks, "Are you mad at me for something?" (Honestly, it must be so hard to be a man, to never know if the slightest gesture will put you on your wife's "bad list.")
I was shocked by my pride, selfishness, stubbornness, ridiculous-ness. Here I was, thinking it's so easy to never take offense, and I get offended for pretty much the stupidest reason. Did I really want to be the cause of the death of our family, because Ben couldn't see out the windows with my light on? Of course not. Yet I carried this yucky, damaging, offended feeling clear until the next morning. How can I ever love mankind, if I can't even get a hold of myself with my own family?
This is where I realize that God has to take over. I'm so weak. So weak (as you can see). I can't do it myself. None of us can. Gandhi couldn't. But I can get a little closer, be a little stronger, one teeny step at a time, with God's help. I know it.