I came across this passage in my reading this week, written by priest, theologian, writer, and activist Matthew Fox:
“I propose that we can fall in love several times a day for the rest of our lives…We could fall in love with a star, of which there are 200 billion in our galaxy alone. Or a species of wildflower... Or a species of bird, of tree, of plant. Or with another human being- preferably one different from ourselves…We could fall in love with music, poetry, painting, dance. If we fell in love with one of Mozart’s works each week, we would have seven years of joy. How could we ever be bored?”
These words keep singing in my head, resonant with such incredible truth. In a single succinct paragraph, this man slices right to the heart of living a full, rich, meaningful, and wondrous life. Curiosity manifested as love, as wonder, as awe. To look out upon the unknown and instead of fear, we fall in love. How singularly beautiful is that?
I have felt bombarded lately, overwhelmed by the suffering inflicted on the powerless in the name of fear and of cowardice. Maybe you have too. There are many days lately in which it feels like that fear and cowardice is winning, that it’s unstoppable, that there are too many fires to run between as we try to keep them from becoming infernos that swallow us whole.
All that running leaves me feeling impotent and exhausted and it can be tempting in those moments to return to my position of privilege and choose to tune it all out for awhile. I can, after all- that’s the very nature of privilege, isn’t it? Being in a position where recognition of oppression is a choice, something I can choose to opt out of when I grow weary of it?
But I don’t want to opt out. Not only because it is wrong and deeply inhumane, but also out of a sense of self-preservation. We have only to look in our history books to know what those who would cage children, deny humanity on the basis of race or nationality or religion or sexuality or gender, will never stop. The hunger for wealth and power built on suffering is never satiated. We who enjoy privilege now very likely are operating on borrowed time unless we act on behalf of those without it.
So I have to find the energy and will to not turn away in my overwhelm and impotence.
I have turned to anger and outrage for that energy, and they certainly work to a certain extent. But anger, even of the righteous sort, is a well that runs dry eventually. I need something to fuel me indefinitely, something that can outlast the monster who is feeding on the powerless.
I need to fall in love.
I have fallen in love with every mother who flees violence, willing to risk even the devastating loss of her children if it means keeping them alive another day. I have fallen in love with every father who sets his own terror aside to reassure his screaming child that they will be okay as border officials tear them apart. I have fallen in love with every heart whose love for someone of the same gender has meant their alienation and denial of rights. I have fallen in love with every parent who has to sit their dark-skinned child down and attempt to explain to them why they can’t walk with their hoodie up at night or how to put their hands on the wheel during a routine traffic stop. I have fallen in love with every person who mortgaged their future to pay for their healthcare. I have fallen in love with every pair of wrinkled hands who opens that social security envelope each month to stave off homelessness or starvation. I have fallen in love with those whose illnesses are invisible, whose pain is emotional. I have fallen in love with the sacred places in the desert and the wildflowers and the trees that have stood in old growth groves for a thousand years and now face the saws of the clear cutting crews or the press of mining equipment.
I have fallen in love. I fall in love again and again each day. Over and over and over. There is no end to this love. It is a well that will never run dry. It fills me up and fills me up and fills me up.
And so it is for my beloveds that I fight.
For each of my beloveds that I call elected officials. For each of my beloveds that I get out to vote. For my beloveds that I give my income to organizations equipped to affect real and tangible change. For my beloveds that I show up tirelessly. We never turn away from those we love, we never grow weary of fighting for our loved ones. To fall in love each day is to live in wonder and welcome and commitment and unstoppable power.
I am angry. I am livid with rage. Make no mistake about that.
But my beloveds need me to last. My beloveds need me to be untiring in my efforts. And my rage is simply insufficient fuel for the long haul. Love is the only thing sustainable, the only thing that can carry us forward day after day after day as we fight for the just world that we are capable of creating.
So let’s all fall in love today. And let’s fall in love again tomorrow. And let’s keep falling in love and basking in the joy and wonder and awe of that love so that we can do our work, work that we are all called to do, work that must not stop until all are safe and all are welcome.
Keep falling in love so that we can draw from a bottomless well.
If you need a place to begin fighting for your beloveds, here are a few places that I have found to be helpful:
Please add any additional organizations that I should include in the comments…I’m sure I’ve missed some great ones.
In the spirit of love (of all sorts, even romantic love), I wanted to share this shoot I did before leaving Arizona. Airstream life in the desert…
Thanks for opening your sweet home on wheels, Katie & Kyle!
PS- If you haven't signed up for my monthly updates (and access to all the freebies in the secret library), be sure to do it before Saturday...a few good announcements and new additions to the library are coming this week!