Love the One You Hate

I sat in my meditation posture this morning for almost an hour. I put the corner of a firm pillow underneath my coccyx, pull my heels toward that corner, one behind the other, and push my knees to the mat (or in this case my side of a futon mattress). I wrap my bedding around me and I sit.

First I did the Baha’i mantra 95 times. “Allah-u-Abha”, means, “God the Greatest”, in Arabic, pronounced, “Allow Abha”. I count on my fingers making four gentle taps with my left pinkie against my left knee, followed by four taps with each of the next three fingers on my left hand, then three traps with my left thumb, while the thumb on my right hand is slightly depressed against my right knee. That is 19, then 4 more series of 19, while gently pressing my right knee, for the duration of the left hand sequence, with each of the four fingers of my right hand in turn. With each tap, I mentally repeat, “Allah-u-Abha.” It goes by very quickly and brings a tremendous blessing.

Then I continue with a meditation that acknowledges my feelings and sensations. I felt very grateful, this morning, for all the wonderful people in my life. My husband, my children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, friends (in person and on line), nieces, nephews, grand nephews, grand nieces, my cousins, in-laws, and both my brothers. I enjoyed the love of all of these people for quite awhile, being grateful for all of them. I even felt close to both my deceased parents.

Then, it was time to work on a difficult relationship, the one with my sister. I found that acknowledging her as an enemy made it a whole lot easier. I was no longer trying to pretend the relationship was something it wasn’t. She has double-crossed me, she has attacked me, she is an enemy. That doesn’t change anything. Christ says, “Love your enemies.”  But the significant thing I learned in this morning’s meditation was that, in order to obey Christ’s command,  one must first take that fearless inventory of who is friend and who is enemy. Let’s not sugarcoat the truth and make excuse after excuse for someone whose behavior is plainly deplorable.  She has attacked me repeatedly, she is an enemy, and I must learn to love this enemy: not the sister that I wish she was, not the sister that I would like to believe she is, but the enemy that she is. 

So I sat there and felt the pain of being on the receiving end of her unsisterly behavior. I witnessed her hateful deeds, and how she twisted the facts to keep up her image with the rest of the family. I watched her numb her conscience with alcohol. I watched her pretense of affection, and felt my gut wrench. I stayed with it until I felt that I would enjoy seeing her because I would no longer be fooled. 

Later on today, I laughed at a joke she told me a long time ago when we used to be close. “A girl says to her boyfriend, ‘Don’t!’ ‘Stop!’ … ‘Don’t stop!'”

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