“Take me to the spring of my life, and tell me my nature and my name.”*
“Without us here to witness, the universe is just pointless physics unfolding.”**
We are a frontiers-species.
As we enter the twenty-first century, we are pushing the borders of love for people who are not like us. We desire to make it possible for more people to live the life they dream of, for them to be able to bring their most true self to others. And the most important part of this is the way they love.
There is a general way to love and then there are the specific way.
General means providing people with our time, listening deeply to them, noticing and valuing the ways they are different from others, and to be present in order help them to grow.
Specific in how we do this, in building relationships or creating spaces or making changes. Maybe in the ever-present support they need, or by being an encourager. It could be the meeting of physical needs, or by making things for them, or having the time to help figure things out.
There are billions of ways to love but every time it must contain love for oneself.
Otherwise, we abdicate responsibility to others for our lives – whether the others are people or systems – and there are always plenty who take this, benefitting themselves whilst disadvantaging others.
Here we are, though, in a universe that has made it possible for a species to develop love – pushing the boundaries of love relentlessly outwards no matter the reactive movements that emerge. In the end it’s the only thing that will truly define our species, outlasting everything else.
Generations before us have taken love as far as they could within their lifetimes and now it’s our turn for a little while.
Where to begin?
“The journey of a thousand miles begins beneath your feet.”^
‘Aren’t there a lot of attempted steps, failed steps, almost-steps, sort-of-steps …?’^^
There are many stuttering steps involved in loving. We can open our minds to what it means to be more loving, we can feel the energy of love’s possibilities. But love must do, we have to move towards another, often stutteringly, awkwardly, hesitatingly – at least it feels like this to me.
‘To be alive is to be vulnerable.’*^
‘The imagination can create the future only if its products are brought over into the real. The bestowal of work completes the act of imagination.’^*
Here is our greatest creativity. We become by moving towards one another, when, in the end, we will finally understand what it means to be human.
(*George Appleton, quoted in the Northumbria Community‘s Morning Prayer.)
(**The character Cormac Wallace in Daniel Wilson’s Robogenesis.)
(^Lao-Tzu, quoted in Geoff Nicholson’s The Lost Art of Walking.)
(^^From Geoff Nicholson’s The Lost Art of Walking.)
(*^From Brené Brown’s Daring Greatly.)
(^*From Lewis Hyde’s The Gift.)