My new favorite description of love is the willingness to enter a mess. It’s a pretty decent description of the Incarnation (or kenosis for you theologians out there); it captures the spirit of that oft-quoted passage from Matthew 25 about feeding Jesus when you feed the hungry. It’s pretty close to the sentiment that Ignatius counsels in the Contemplation to Attain Love in the fourth week of the Spiritual Exercises. It’s certainly what was on Ignatius’s mind when he penned the beautiful Suscipe prayer: “take, Lord, receive all my liberty….” For if the spiritual life is coming to inhabit the place where God stands, and seeing the world as God sees it, and being willing to act upon what one sees from that place, well, that’s being willing to enter a mess.
Sue and I are sprinting toward a lovely mess. The amazing thing is that it wasn’t one we’d planned. It was one that God told us to enter last month when He e-mailed Sue the photo of a 7 year-old boy in China, Fu Yuan, who has a heart defect. God said, “yes, he’ll fit into your family nicely. You can get him some good medical care, you can give him older sisters who also started their lives in China, and you can help him make the transition because you, Dad, speak Chinese like a 7 year-old.” We protested that we couldn’t afford the fees; we’re taking care of Sue’s mom; we’ve had to deal with various work and school difficulties; yada yada yada. I went into a conversation with Sue thinking we’d have to say no, and came out of it convinced I’d be with my son by the end of the year. Thanks be to God!