Of the many powerful concepts that come from what I read and which have formed me, the one that sticks fast and even may be said to haunt me is the obscure quote from Virginia Wolfe’s novel Orlando which I read years ago while I was living in another country: "There is no stronger desire in the human breast than that others should think as we do." I’ve mentioned this to You before and I mention it to You again here because, through another reading, and through the gospel for today I realize I have never considered some of the corollaries of this quote.
Among the saddest and heaviest burdens we must bear are those of not being understood, cared for, loved, or recognized. Such circumstances drive some to despair. Yet, the answer for concerns with all of these worries is contained in Your response to the rich young man and to Your disciples after the young man turned and walked away. The gospel says You looked upon him with love. He did all but abandon his possessions to be saved. But even if he had done this, he could not save himself. That is impossible for us, but not for God. It is a blessing and a consolation to be loved, understood, cared for and recognized by others, but it can also be a form of possession that we hang on to that distracts us from the only love, understanding, caring and recognition that really matters – Yours! And that we always have. That we may never despair of. That saves us.
So while it may be true that we strongly desire that others think and feel as we do – it’s a selfish desire and of no real consequence. ‘Go and sell all your possessions and give to the poor and come follow Me.” With that kind of focus why should one even be concerned with who does or who doesn’t understand, care for, or recognize us?