In the movie Eat Pray Love a woman going through her very own mid-life crisis, drops every comfort and familiar thing in life and goes on a year long journey to find herself and her inner balance. She goes to three countries, searching for one specific trait of each country. She seeks pleasure in Italy, spiritual enlightenment in India, and a balance of the two in Indonesia. While struggling with meditation and her own thoughts at the ashram of a guru in India her friend tells her these words, “You have the capacity to someday love the whole world. It’s your destiny.”
As I was reading this book, on the plane to India, I was contemplating this statement. While I’m not on the same spiritual journey as Elizabeth Gilbert was when writing this book, my time in India has been a journey and has definitely filled with spiritual battles and revelations. I have accomplished much here and I have loved with a greater capacity then I ever knew myself capable of but do I, or do we as fallen human beings, truly have the capacity to someday love the whole word? As someone currently serving on the mission field I would love for the answer to be yes and some days it feels like it could be. The more layovers I have and time spent in different countries the more I feel I definitely possess that and it’s not possible for me to fit love in for one more country but somehow I do. But there are the hard days, the days you can get so easily annoyed with a pushy taxi driver and so angry with the men staring you up and down every time you leave the comfort of your home. There are days your so frustrated because you don’t understand the language or the cultural taboos and then I question can I even love one small part of the world well.
I’ve come up with an answer though. No. In no way do I have the capacity to someday love the whole world. There are some mornings I can barely remember to brush my teeth. There are times here when I can hardly show one person the love they need. A lot of days I have come home feeling discouraged wishing I could have done more, wishing I could have loved more.
I’m so glad though my work doesn’t end with a list of things I wish I could have done better and a list of things left unaccomplished on my own strength. My work starts with serving the only one that does love the whole world. Like the chorus of the old children’s song, “He’s got the whole world in his hands.” Or, “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world.” No matter what you spin it. God’s got it covered and he’s got it handled with a love so abundant and with a love outside of my realm of understanding.
I’ve become so thankful that the pressure isn’t on me to love the whole world. I could never accomplish that. Through him though I have the capacity to love a bigger and greater part of it with a love that’s fuller and more powerful than anything I could have given in my own strength. He’s given me the strength to wake up each morning and pour myself out on these women in the office, every weekend make my heart available for the children in the brothels.
Thank you Lord for loving the whole world completely and unconditionally and for not putting that expectation on me but thank you for giving me an opportunity to love part of it with a love I could never have understood on my own. Thank you for revealing yourself to me through that and give me the heart to display this same love to every country I visit and every soul I encounter.