Friday, December 2, 2011

All You Need is LOVE

I was working on a Thanksgiving post (which I obviously did not post, or finish for that matter), and I wanted to finish it up until this morning when I read this.

Let's just sum up my thankful list and say I am thankful today for three things.
1. Over-the-counter medications. 2. My amazing husband, Casey. 3. People like the blogger with the guts to post this article.

Never had I read anything more powerful in the cause for true Christian charity until this article. It’s called “I’m Christian, Unless You’re Gay.” At the end of the post, he includes a link to a newer post containing responses to his call for love in the world (which I am purposefully not posting so you click it yourself after reading the article). The first two he posted made me so angry I wanted to yell through my tiny iPhone screen at the people who had the guts to write such hateful things and claimed to be Christians - exactly what this post was trying to combat.

Then I read the positive responses. I cried. Casey, dead asleep next to me didn’t notice any of this, but these powerful responses and stories of hope moved me to the point that I couldn’t help but leap out of bed (almost literally) and share what I read with anyone and everyone I know. I posted the link to Twitter and facebook. I commented on the post. And I sat down to write how I feel.

Since returning from my mission I have not felt so compelled to share a message with the world. The amazing gospel message should have a way to include this more vehemently within the teachings. Christ truly said love everyone. I’ve known this since I was a little girl. I remember being maybe 4 or 5 years old, sitting in the Primary room, singing my little lungs out because I knew that the pure love of Christ taught among children through lyrical melodies is the love that all mankind is meant to feel. I remember sitting there hoping and wishing that everyone could feel as great as I felt sitting in Primary.

My testimony of Christ has always been there, sometimes as a blazing fire and other times more like a flickering match, almost out of fuel to keep it burning, but when I remember that 4 or 5 year old me sitting in Primary, there is no doubt in my mind that God loves me. Jesus love me. And a part of that knowledge means sharing that love with everyone.

I remember my first semester away at BYU-Idaho. One of my dearest friends had stopped talking to me on a regular basis. Every time we chatted it was brief, she obviously had a million things to do, but in the back of my mind I knew something was wrong. Finally, I confronted her (online via AIM if I recall). I asked why she wasn’t talking to me as much as before, and if something was wrong. She admitted that she thought I wouldn’t love her anymore and confessed that she had done something against my religion. Not her own beliefs, just mine. She told me that she knew I couldn’t love her anymore after what she had done, and I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t care what she had done! She was my friend and I loved her regardless of her actions. I told her that I am not one to judge and the action had nothing to do with our friendship. There was no betrayal. No hurtful action made. I told her I truly didn’t care and I loved her just as much as ever.

Maybe she doesn’t remember this, but I think on it often. This same principle applies to everyone. I have been commanded by God to love those that hate me and to pray for my enemies, and I am hell bent on doing so. I do not pretend to be perfect in this, I know I have fallen short of loving everyone, even in my own family, but if I have loved anyone less, I beg their forgiveness.

Buddha taught that, “Hatred does not cease by hatred, but only by love; this is the eternal rule.”

I’m making a goal here and now - and issuing a challenge at the same time - to love those that hate me, no matter who they are. From elementary school bullies to rude coworkers, from exes with grudges to spiteful siblings, I love each and every one of you. Yeah, even that kid from the bus in kindergarten who poked me in the back of the neck with a pencil. Even the old friend who declared me an enemy and blocked me on facebook. Even the one person at work who as soon as he opens his mouth I try to tune out and walk away.

I’m going to love you all if it kills me.

5 comments:

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  2. It's so tough to having genuinely loving attitudes towards those we consider to be "beneath" us in one way or another. Like the article you linked to mentions...for a lot of Christian-types it's gay people. For me it's a different bunch I harbor some hatred for in my heart, but it's the same soul-killing attitude, isn't it? Now I want to find Michelle Bachmann and give her a hug. "I love your crazy-eyed self, even if I'd never, ever, ever, ever vote for you!"

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  3. Sometimes it's harder to love the people we interact with often (like annoying coworkers :D) rather than strangers, just because of human nature. I applaud your choice to showing love to all. It's also very difficult to walk the line of acceptance and tolerance. I wish everyone were as open to this kind of commitment as you.

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  4. Something written here reminded me of this interview with Suzan Lori Parks. She's a playwright: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fhnGEk5eODE

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  5. Both the post you linked to and your own post were amazing. Thank you! It's so easy to lose sight of the fact that so much depends on human decency and love. I especially liked your quote from Buddha.

    There's an interesting, if at times sloppily written, little story I've seen online called something like "The Egg" (I could probably find it on Google in about 2 minutes, but...you know...). The gist of the story is, a person dies and goes to the afterlife. There, he is met by some sort of being who tells him that he should get some rest because he'll soon be reincarnated. The dead person says, "Oh, so reincarnation's a thing? Like, the Buddhists were right?" The being replies that that's not exactly true. The dead person asks if the being is God, and the being replies "Sort of." The being then announces that the man will be reborn as a peasant girl in 6th century Manchuria (or something), and the man asks how that would be possible since it's so far in the past. The being tells the man that he's been reincarnated more times than he could count, and that he's conversed with himself and never even known it. "You see," the being says, "you are being prepared for the next step of your evolution. Once you have finished on this world, you shall become a god." The man is stunned. "Will everyone on Earth become a god eventually?" he asks. The being answers, "Don't you understand? It's only you. You have lived as every human soul. At times you've been kind, at times you've been evil, but every deed you've done has been to yourself."

    I don't, you know, BELIEVE that, but it's a very interesting point. What if, instead of thinking that everyone around us is a thing to like or hate, we believed that everyone around us is just as human as we are? What if the homeless man on the sidewalk had emotions and hopes and dreams? What if our gay friend had the same yearnings for love and acceptance that we have? What if, even with our differences, we're more alike than we're comfortable admitting?

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