In the end, all achievements, accolades, and awards aren’t worth much (unless you’re an egomaniac). I think we a consciously know this in our heads, but the information hasn’t made the 8 inch journey to our hearts, and we spend our lives chasing after worthless acclaim. Instead, I propose we pursue relationships, relationships based on a desire to know the other person as deeply, or deeper than you know yourself. It’s hard, and there’re plenty of chances to get hurt (in fact it’s practically guaranteed), and sometimes you might just want to be alone… but in the end, no one will remember who got which medals at the Sochi winter Olympics (except those types who are always trying to get onto he shows), but I will always remember the people whom I loved.
To love at all is to be vulnerable.
Religious despair is often a defense against boredom and the daily grind of existence. Lacking intensity in our lives, we say that we are distant from God and then seek to make that distance into an intense experience. It is among the most difficult spiritual ailments to heal, because it is usually wholly illusory. There are definitely times when we must suffer God’s absence, when we are called to enter the dark night of the soul in order to pass into some new understanding of God, some deeper communion with him and with all creation. But this is very rare, and for the most part our dark nights of the soul are, in a way that is more pathetic than tragic, wishful thinking. God is not absent. He is everywhere in the world we are too dispirited to love. To feel him— to find him— does not usually require that we renounce all worldly possessions and enter a monastery, or give our lives over to some cause of social justice, or create some sort of sacred art, or begin spontaneously speaking in tongues. All too often the task to which we are called is simply to show a kindness to the irritating person in the cubicle next to us, say, or to touch the face of a spouse from whom we ourselves have been long absent, letting grace wake love from our intense, self-enclosed sleep.