Love all the People

When will the love end?

When will the love end?

Kids. Boy we sure do love ’em. Even people who don’t actually like kids I bet would be pretty quick to acknowledge that kids — although sometimes a pain — are love machines. They make it. They reflect it. They live it. They embody it. They are our teachers in it.

So we love the kids.

But with some strange division of mind, we often forget: the kids, they grow to become the “people.”  THOSE people. All the people we can’t stand, want to kill, barely put up with. Unlike, unfollow, unfriend, untangle, hang up on, hang from trees, butcher en masse.

When does the love end?

When do we forget: those people, they ARE the kids.

We have to love all the people.

At some point, most of us stop passing notes to the girls we think are cute. We stop wearing sweaters with giant hearts on them. We “grow up” and circle the wagons around a set of personal views ideas & morals. We make our clique and form ourselves in a kind of ideological shape.

But guess what.

That “growing up” is a big fat lie. When we grow and “form” — becoming physically “different” in our tallness and breastfulness and our sexual activity, and in our self-ness — we feel we have to abandon the great open meadow of childhood.

Do we sprout hairs in awkward places? Do we take ever more challenging math classes? Do we get jobs and pay bills and find religion? Do we become terrorists who strap bombs to ourselves?

Yes. Those things we do.

bellhooks love quoteBut we never stop being children.

The media inundates us with horrors. It cherry picks the horrors based on a cultural idea of what is “more” horrible — and more appealing — (dead white people in France? Dead brown people in Lebanon? Dead black people in Kenya? Dead toddlers who shot each other with Dad’s gun?)

We inhale the risks of life like air.

The meadow of our childhood grows distant. All that is left is a narrow path, surrounded by dark woods.

We sort through our horrors like grown-ups. We deal out our anger and our rage and our compassion. We draw boundaries around our lives and our hearts.

Because we believe we are grown-ups.

But we never stop being children.

“The moment we choose to love we begin to move towards freedom…”. If we choose love, we practice freedom. The road widens. Daylight returns.

We return to the open meadow.

Every moment of life is risk. My friend Tricia is a super-runner. She is one of those amazing athletes who does multi-mile competitive trail runs through in the mountains.

One day, collecting the garbage bins, she stepped off the curb and broke her foot. She couldn’t run — hardly walk — for months.

If you believe you can escape death and fear by killing the boogie man, you cannot. Instead it serves us all well to remember that we are all once — and maybe again — the boogie man ourselves.

To get through the horror, we have to imagine ourselves — as children — detonating the vests. We have to embrace the worst imaginable. We have to reach out to THOSE people and say “I see you.”

With the kind of love that regrows meadows. After fire. After drought. After war and locusts.

All the other options? The retaliation? The savage words?

They are merely self-inflicted wounds.

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Elizabeth Howard

Elizabeth writes literary non-fiction, haiku, cultural rants, and Demand Poetry in order to forward the cause of beautiful writing. She teaches and speaks about the rhetorical impact of beautiful writing. A recent transplant to Connecticut, she calls London, Kansas City, and Iowa home. 

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  1 comment for “Love all the People

  1. November 23, 2015 at 12:56 pm

    Excellent post, E. Great reminder in the midst of all that has been happening around the world lately.

    I was reminded of 1 Peter 4:8 – “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.”

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