Loving the Ugly

Abandoned church, Chicago

It’s been said that we are spiritual beings having a human experience. Sounds nice, but what does it actually mean to you? To me, it represents the central place of imperfection in all spiritual practice. It gives us permission us to love the imperfect, because nothing on earth was made with straight lines. If we didn’t love that which was imperfect, then love wouldn’t be love in its fullest sense. Since to love the perfect and the beautiful and the good is easy. To love that which requites your love; this, too, is easy enough. Yet under these conditions, love becomes a form of payment, a barter, a negotiation.

Love only reveals its greatness to itself through its profound unselfishness. It loves that which seems unlovable. It loves the ugly, and embraces what we humans regard as sinner and as evil. Love reveals its true nature by loving that which does not love it back, by giving to those who cannot or will not return its unconditional generosity. It’s to kiss someone who has bad breath.

To be a spiritual being and have a human experience is to jacket the divine in flesh, and then to wrap the flesh again in the divine. It means that you watch someone stumble down your street at night in drunkenness, and when you stop to offer them help, they yell Fuck you!  And then you help them home anyway, and put them to bed in your own home, because maybe she’s your daughter. It’s to work on a road crew and watch laborers lay asphalt day after day for 40 years, and to wonder: Is this what my life is? But then to glance up at the mountains beside the road, dressed in new snow.

To be a spiritual being and have a human experience is to  come to know that the miracle contains the mundane, that the sacred embraces the profane, and is contained within it. It’s to pass judgment on no one. And when you do anyway, it’s to come to know that what you see in the eyes of another, be good or bad in your own sight, is always only a reflection of your divine self.

© 2019 by Michael C. Just

Mike’s novel, The Dirt: The Journey of a Mystic Cowboy, is available in softcover or eBook formats through Amazon.

You can purchase the book through this website. Or go straight to amazon at https://www.amazon.com/s?k=the+dirt+journey+of+a+mystic+cowboy&crid=1S40Q4BXSUWJ6&sprefix=the+dirt%3A+journey+of+a+m%2Caps%2C180&ref=nb_sb_ss_i_1_23

Mike’s other titles, including The Crippy, The Mind Altar, and Canyon Calls, are available through Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B002LFMXAW