This Servant of God's husband, Enrico, said something that gave me pause, and changed how I think.
I was recently listening to a talk (below) about the beautiful life and death of a woman named Chiara Corbella. She and her husband had a son and a daughter about a year apart, who each lived only an hour before dying in their parents’ arms in the hospital.
In the talk, Enrico, the father of the children (a devout Catholic) said, “Our children taught us that the only thing important in life is to let yourself be loved.”
I recoiled mentally for a minute after he said that. What?! Isn’t the whole point of life to love other people? It made me pause the video and think. What did he mean? A couple of ideas poked through the haze and, the more I thought about it, the more I comprehended some truth in his statement. These are a few of my musings, and what it means for me and how I love others.
Loving like a child
I reflected on how letting God love me might look similar to how my own baby son lets me love him.
My baby trusts me right now probably more than he will trust anyone else for the rest of his life. When he is upset, he knows someone will be there to comfort him–to feed him, change him, or talk to him.
Learning to trust is a key to successful relationships — both with God and then with others. My ability to trust affects how I then show love to others. When I don’t allow others to love me, I prevent any real give and take to happen. This stunts relationships, and enables me to pretend I can do everything on my own–thus making it even harder for me to listen to what God wants for me. A lot of my problems stem from wanting to figure everything out myself, and not allowing others in.
Listening to boundaries
A parent loves a child by giving them boundaries. Do I respect people’s boundaries and make my own? Sometimes allowing myself to be loved means saying “Please don’t do that for me, I need to do that myself” in situations where I need to grow. But it also means knowing when I need to ask for help and not do everything myself.
Hosting comes to mind. I am not naturally an eager hostess. But one great way to love people and form relationships is to extend invitations to them to spend time in my home. Instead of relying on my husband to do all the work on the social front, I can do my part in asking people over. And then instead of just feeling overburdened when it comes to the actual work of hosting, I can allow people to help me (by bringing food, or by cleaning up with me afterwards).
Watching my intentions
Am I loving (my kids/husband/friends) freely or do I feel burdened and fearful? If I don’t feel free to love it might stem from being unable to feel loved freely by others. What is preventing that? How much time am I spending with people who actually love me and want what’s best for me? Am I able to live in trust and vulnerability, or do I feel like I rigidly control when and how I love others?
Letting yourself be loved is the goal of life when it comes to God
God has promised to take care of me, and has shown me that over and over again in my life. When I look back and see all of the good things He has given me, I’m amazed. I can see how God uses even people’s brokenness and mistakes to work for good in my life.
But how many times do I stand in God’s way — assuming He won’t come through, or thinking that my way is more effective and better than His? I think I do this often. At the end of the day, the more I let others into my life, the more I might let God in too. And then I am ready to love others more fully.
Chiara Corbella, servant of God, pray for us!