when love is the way
It's been a rough couple of weeks here in Houston. First, there was the story of a young boy who was abducted and beaten by possible white supremacists here in Houston. And then mere days later, children were killed in a mass shooting at a high school just south of the city. Then, on the very next school day after the shooting, there was a rash of threats at 6 more schools in the Houston area.
So ... yeah, it's been a tough week.
Anyway, while everything was going on last week, the very last thing I cared about was the wedding of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle. It's not that I have any antipathy toward the British royal family, and of course I wish only the best for the newlyweds ... it's just that the actual event didn't matter to me at all. I've never seen Suits, so until Meghan was engaged to Harry, I had no idea who she was. I was vaguely incredulous at the number of people I know here in my neighbourhood who threw watching parties, inviting friends over at 4 a.m. to have tea and scones to watch the festivities (dress code: pajamas and fascinators). I mean, to each their own, of course, but no way was I getting out of my bed that early. Please, get out of my comfy bed on a Saturday morning? Nuh-uh, not when I knew that the wedding would be on repeat for the next 24 hours!
So I woke up my usual time, but of course, one glance at social media, and I quickly heard about the Most Reverend Bishop Michael Curry's sermon. As it happens, Michael Curry is the head of my church and I've been a fan of his for a while, so I already knew that he was a gifted orator. But because the internet was afire about it, I decided to go ahead and watch it.
It was, as expected, excellent -- all about the healing and restorative power of love. But still, while I'm usually all about love and light -- I mean, you know me -- I have to admit, even that morning, I was a little skeptical. Love, huh, I thought to myself. Good luck finding any on this planet.
I know. Like I said, I've been in a bad way.
What I didn't expect, however, was how viral his sermon would go. And yes, of course, there are people who didn't like it, but for the most part, folks have been raving about it. And this morning, when I went out for a 4 mile hike (my first in a long time), I couldn't keep it out of my mind. I kept coming back to his words about how necessary leading with love is, and how his sermon seemed to stir something around the world. I clung to my pessimism for half of my hike, when it suddenly dawned on me ... what choice do we have, really?
I mean, I could sit in my bitterness and my cynicism (and believe me, for the last few days, I certainly have), but it's not really changing much in the world to do so. I could give up on the idea of trying to be intentionally kind (because why not, it's not like the guy who cut me off / the barista who spilled my coffee without a second glance / the person who bumped into me without saying 'excuse me' gives a damn), but what does that solve? How does that improve my mood?
How does it make the world better?
And so, I'll lead with love again. But first, I need to show myself a little love: acknowledge how painful the last few weeks have been, be quiet and make sure I'm nurturing my soul and the people around me who I love and who love me, and restore a bit. Because when the world gets to be too much, honestly, we all should nurse our wounds. And then, when we feel ready and powered-up ...
... we lovebomb the crap of our worlds again.
"When love is the way -- unselfish, sacrificial, redemptive -- when love is the way, then no child will go to bed hungry in this world ever again. When love is the way, we will let justice roll down like a mighty stream, and righteousness like an ever-flowing brook. When love is the way, poverty will become history. When love is the way, the Earth will be a sanctuary. When love is the way, we will lay down our swords and shields down by the riverside, to study war no more. When love is the way, there's plenty good room -- plenty good room -- for all of God's children. And when love is the way, we actually treat each other ... well ... like we are actually family."
~ The Most Reverend Bishop Michael B. Curry, Saturday, May 19, 2018
Soundtrack: the Irish band U2 and a gospel choir from Harlem made up of high school students along with a couple of professional singers, singing I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For. It's an old video (from the movie Rattle & Hum), but I love it because it proves that as long as artists from opposite sides of the planet, from completely different histories and backgrounds, can get together and make beautiful music together, there's hope for love and connection.
Click here or the image below to watch and listen.