Inward...ever inward

If I am other-centered I will give and receive with humility and grace. I have always known that to be true but I had never thought of why that is the case. I am trying to wrap my mind around this so please bear with me. If I am graceful I will be continually reaching out to people in need in a way that is truly helpful. There is a self-serving way of offering assistance and I have been both the giver and the receiver of that, but I will not go into this here. Now, if I am self-focused I will be so absorbed in myself that I will not reach out to offer any assistance to anyone. When I flip this around I see another dynamic where I would be so self-focused that I would shrink from the acceptance of an offer help from anyone. It is both humility and grace to accept the gift that I do not deserve as much as it is grace to give to someone what they need.

So when my ego gets in the way not only do I not reach out to others but I refuse help from them as well. This is good to know because now I have two symptoms to look out for as my pride rears its awful, ugly head. C.S. Lewis envisioned a Hell where the doors were locked from the inside. In other words the residents there were so self-absorbed that they would not reach out to God even when they were in torment.

I am not sure about Lewis' conception of that ugly, awful place but I do know that the closest I come to Hell in this life is not when I am in conflict or when there is a hurricane or even an firestorm. It is when I find my focus to be inward...ever inward.

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