I remember a particular walk with my mother. In the middle of what I thought was a rather pleasant conversation, she abruptly stopped, looked at me and said, “You know, the problem with you is that you think everything can be solved by love.”
I was in my 20’s then, young and arrogant by my older self’s standards. And I was offended; I knew I was right, and I wondered how my mother could have missed such a profound truth?
What I defended unquestionably in my earlier years, I began to reflect on as the years passed by. Don’t get me wrong, I never questioned the part about love being the answer to everything. No, I still knew in my soul the truth of love’s power.
What I began to question was my limited understanding of love itself. (Which I’m sure was my mother’s point all along.) I was in love with the feely good side of love; I hadn’t yet learned the fierceness and labor of love.
In my last blogpost, I talked about being careful what we spend our energy hating, because “hate drives the love out of our hearts,” but what is love? And what makes it such a powerful force?
Much has and continues to be written about love. Philosophy, theology, psychology have taught us about the value of love, the kinds of love, the joys of giving and receiving love, and the cost of love. Commercialism and advertisements continue to idealize love, and all of us in the deepest recesses of our souls long for the promises of love, both in our personal lives and in our world at large. But what is love?
Recently I attended a lecture given by Valerie Kaur, a lawyer and activist, among other things.
Through her own experiences of tragedy and an unwillingness to close her heart, Valerie took time to reflect on her own Sikh religion as well as the world’s great traditions. She chose to focus on love, not hate, and her focus led to the creation of what she calls revolutionary love. For those of you who are not familiar with Valerie and revolutionary love, I urge you to visit her website: www.ValerieKaur.com for further reflection.
As we continue to live in a world suffering from violence, animosity, and blame, I invite us all to reflect on the power of love as we have experienced it, as we have seen it played out in history, and pledge ourselves to reflect on love, what it is (and is not), and where its power comes from.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin said, “The most telling and profound way of describing the evolution of the universe would undoubtedly be to trace the evolution of love.” How are we, how will we contribute to this evolution?