I was driving in my car this morning as the local NPR station kept me company amid Atlanta traffic. An article came on that caught my attention. The following article speaks of a classical Indian dancer who began (what I believe can be rightly called) a ministry by teaching male inmates at a local prison how to dance. She originally came to watch the female inmates perform but was struck by the body language of the men. Their bodies communicated, in her words, that they were people without a future, with nothing to look forward to. She then began to teach them traditional Indian dance. The male inmates, murderers, rapists, thieves, and the like, started to see her as a mother who loved them.
What struck me the most about this article is the way in which the woman, Alokananda Roy, spoke of her journey with these men on the margins of Indian society. When speaking of the affection that grew between her and the men, she simply said, "all I did was accept them. The love came later."
For some reason, this phrase struck me. Acceptance first. Then love.
....I'm not sure why but I can't get these words out of my head. Is it possible to love without accepting? Is it possible to accept without loving? Does one always have to precede the other?
Does this challenge you as much as it does me?