1 Cor 13:8
Not the equivalent of “Hope is for suckers.”
Hope, I will agree, is often a lofty, unrealistic, weak cop-out. I’ll just sit here and hope instead of standing up and DOING something.
Love is real. Love is action. Love stands up to fight, sits down to comfort, walks hand in hand, stirs the pot of chili, folds the clothes, goes to work to bring home the bacon, plays catch, reads a story, listens to the wind in the trees, reads, thinks, watches, connects. Love does the very best it can, then trusts. Love loves, despite appearances.
Love never fails.
When I was little I thought the opposite of love was hate.
When I got older I realized that the opposite of love is fear.
Now I think that there is no opposite to love. Life is unending struggle, and we can choose to love anyway.
Love as a way to embrace life.
I loved it last year when my husband would go out on the deck to pick some lettuce for the lunch he was packing himself. Thinking of him eating homegrown, organic lettuce in his lunch, which he might eat really far from home, covering some news story that was stressing him out and making him believe even more than he already does that the human race is f***ed… it makes me feel like I might be contributing to the good of the world.
Maybe he will taste hope. Maybe he will taste the love of a wife, the warm care of the sun, the solid affection of the dirt, the tasty freshness of lettuce grown on your own porch.
Maybe it will be reflected in his story, which many will read, and the love will make it through the labyrinth, somehow, and feed the world.
Such tiny seeds. Such big dreams.
NOT lettuce, obviously, but I am reusing the big black containers... also I like to remember my basil...
A Kiss Amidst the Chaos
Two Beauties, No Beast
Cooler Than Thou, But Still My Baby
The Hua Hu Ching, as written by Lao Tzu and translated by Ni, Hua-Ching, states very clearly throughout the text that we are to serve the world selflessly and unconditionally:
One who practices virtue and selflessness should not hold any particular idea in his mind about how to fulfill his virtue, for virtue is the very nature of one’s being. One should always be willing to assist others selflessly and unconditionally by offering one’s skills and achievements to serve them. One should be willing to give away the things one cherishes most or even offer one’s life to assist others. One should not restrict one’s service by distinctions of color, nationality, family or social relationships, sensory perceptions, or any other relative condition. To restrict the ways in which one would render service to others to suit one’s personal preference is potentially harmful. If one relates to others and serves them only according to his own design, it is as if he has entered the darkness and can see nothing. By chance he may help some people, but he may also injure others. However, if one does not limit himself by imposing special terms on his serving others, he is like someone with good vision who enjoys the brightness and sees clearly. His influence is purely positive.
Love the One in All.
Can we do what’s in front of us but keep in mind the big picture simultaneously?
Can you imagine a world of unconditional selflessness?
Can you imagine yourself participating? Agent of Love? Engaged indiscriminately?
My teenagers hate it when I try to share a story from my past. Yesterday I was trying to tell my 19 year old about how as a kid I had records with story books so I could listen to Heidi and Mary Poppins and such. She could barely be bothered to look at me and as soon as I paused she left the room.
I was immediately reminded of my Grandma’s face that day when I was maybe thirteen years old and she tried to get me to try a peach ( I think it was a peach – it’s extra-damning that I can’t even remember that detail) from a tree that my deceased Grandpa had planted years before. As a kid I despised almost every kind of fruit, and for her to be practically begging me to take one bite of some stupid gross fruit just seemed mean. Hooray, the man I barely remember grew some nasty stuff I hate, why are you torturing me with it?
I can still see the desperation turning to pain in her eyes as she realized I wasn’t going to even pretend to nibble the peach.
Now I know how long it takes to cultivate fruit trees. Now I know how profound it is that a person can reach across time and space with the literal or figurative fruits of their labor, extending their love even beyond the grave by the thoughtful and loving things they did with their lives. She was trying to teach me this, wanting me to participate in this miracle, wanting to see that their years of hard work for posterity was truly going to nourish the generations to come.
Not that this compares with my stupid stories about listening to 45’s. I just remember my own disgust when I see it mirrored in my child’s face, in her refusal to even humor me for a couple minutes. In her self-centered ignorance about what it means for the past and the future to be connected in a meaningful embrace.
That I can only completely understand what her eyes were saying from this distance, when the peach and she and my Grandpa are all long gone, makes me feel like the biggest fool ever.