Fierce Love: The Hardest, Easiest Thing

Summary of Ordinary Life for the Week of July 21, 2019

Hello Friends!

Thank you so much for joining me Sunday as I talked about Fierce Love: The Hardest, Easiest Thing. I completely understand what Bill means when he talks about preparing for these talks as a spiritual practice - I learn so much as I go and hope you enjoy the fruits of that. In the brief discussion after class, someone brought up the difficulty of loving people who are hard to love, and I responded by suggesting we imagine that person as a child, in need of tenderness. Rebeca Eigen sent me the following poem and I thought I would share.


From the best of Sydney J. Harris

SEE HIM AS THE CHILD HE WAS. These seven simple one syllable words have taken me half a lifetime to learn. But it has been worth the long hard fought lessons.

For these are magic words: with them, you can rise above pettiness and spite, cruelty and arrogance and greed.

When you confront a man who shows these unattractive traits — see him as the child he was.

Remember that he began his life with laughing expectancy, with trust, with warmth, desiring to give love and to take love.

And then remember that something happened to him — something he is not aware of — to turn the trust into suspicion, the warmth into wariness, the give-and- take into all take and no-give.

See him as the child he was.

Behind the pomp or the rudeness, beneath the crust of meanness or coldness, begin to perceive the wistful little boy or girl who is hurt and disappointed and determined to strike back at the world.

Or the little boy who is frightened and tightens his jaw and clenches his fist to ward off some overwhelming fear that hovers deep in the dark past.

Or the little girl who was given to much too soon — and given things instead of feelings — and now can only clutch her power or her purse the way she used to clutch her teddy bear, because there is nothing else she feels is really hers for keeps.

See him as the child he was.

Regard the faces as they pass you on the street: adult faces on the surface but the child is lurking not far beneath the skin — the child who eats too much because he craves the sweetness of affection, the child who drinks too much because she cannot face a motherless world, the child who brags and lies and cheats to wrest revenge for some huge indignity that is gnawing at his heart.

And then look again, and you will see what the Bible means when it calls all

of us “God’s Children” — you will see a glimmer of hope behind the hate, a glint of humor behind the harshness, a touch of tenderness that no defensive wall can wholly obliterate.

As hard as this is, it too, is a way of compassion, of showing fierce love.

Have a great week and see everyone next Sunday when Dr. Cleve Tinsley joins me in conversation. The slides of the presentation can be retrieved below, as can the text of my talk.
Much love - Holly

To read the text of the talk, click here.

To view the slides, click here.

To listen to or download the audio file of the talk, use the player below.