by Reverend Wayne Walder
Every fall into love involves (to adapt Oscar Wilde) the triumph of hope over self-knowledge. As Alain de Botton wrote: “We fall in love hoping that we will not find in the other what we know is in ourselves – all the cowardice, weakness, laziness, dishonesty, compromise and brute stupidity. We throw a cordon of love around the chosen one, and decide that everything that lies within it will somehow be free of our faults and hence lovable. We locate inside another a perfection that eludes us within ourselves, and through union with the beloved, hope somehow to maintain (against evidence of all self-knowledge) a precarious faith in the species.”
I have been reading different authors during my mini–sabbatical. They all talk about love being the most important spiritual quality and I am slowly learning how to fit this into my life experience. It has taken me time. Now I realize we need to love, not only to fulfill our desires and handle our anxieties, but to help heal our hearts. We need to love so we don’t allow consumerism to distract us from what we hope to become. We need to love so we realize our precious lives have an unknown depth we might miss. We need to love to see how we are all profoundly connected. How we love determines what kind of people we are.
We even need to love in order to heal this planet of ours. Technology and entertainment can make us forget how to love the land that sustains us. When we forget the land, it makes it easy to desecrate it.
There are interesting psychological studies that show how shame and pride are the motivating factors in all of human society. Even in the face of our difficult world, love allows us to become humble and self confident.
How will you love today? This is not a Pollyanna question. Deepening and growth of our spirit requires this far more than a new cell phone. The equity of our community requires it to help us handle shame and pride. The earth needs it. Can I respectfully ask, will you love today?