Living in Love

January 20, 2021

2020 was filled with painful challenges, from losing loved ones to losing jobs to losing ourselves in the chaos that filled the year. 2021 wasn’t much better. And now? Good old 2022 saw us sadly and helplessly watching the butchering of Ukraine. And we are finishing off this dark year recovering from one of the ugliest midterm campaign seasons of my lifetime. Wow. But no matter how dark, I believe there’s always the chance to let the light in.

While filled with sadness for the loss of so much, I think we have so much to be grateful for as we move into another new year. I think we are missing the boat if we aren’t counting our blessings.

I look around and I see so many people doing so much good, serving their communities as they continue to struggle. The acts of kindness I have witnessed far outshine the ugly divides that seem to have become the norm of recent years. The extension of helping hands to the women and children fleeing Ukraine gave them hope, but it also gave me hope.

It’s exhausting to hate and exhausting to judge harshly. Love and kindness come easily to us as humans. We learn to hate; we learn to exclude; we learn to think of fellow humans as other, not included. Well, it’s not for me.

My heart has been heavy all through the pandemic, for the loss, for the illness; for the millions going hungry with no relief in sight; for the political ugliness; for the devastation of war and famine worldwide; the the planet and the crisis we face. And while I cooked, taught and volunteered, doing my very best to help in small ways, I could not shake the heaviness in me. I put on my brave smiling face for videos and shows and blogs but inside, I was struggling, feeling like we humans were lost; that this time, there was no climbing out of the abyss.

And then I remembered. It will sound cheesy and I don’t care. But I remembered that all we need is love. I remembered that hate can’t live where there is love; misery can’t thrive where there is love. Want can be relieved because when we live in love, we extend our hands to others to lift them up.

My Asian teacher once told me that we were all one; all of us are one energy; one humanity and that together, we could achieve anything. I believed him then and I believe him now. My hippie mother raised us that differences among us were just perception and that we were to treat every single person as we would want to be treated.

Have I always done that? No. I confess to slipping on occasion; I confess to being shocked at people’s behavior more often than I care to admit and have shunned those who shocked me. But if we are all one, then we are all one. Even the parts of us that we don’t want to embrace deserve our love and respect. We are in this together, like it or not.

So let’s celebrate each other; yes, even in these hard times, where we are challenged in ways we could never imagine. Celebrate your blessings with deep and unabashed gratitude. From the great to the small, the good things in our lives come from love; the friends who make us laugh; the family that circles the wagons and lifts us up when we need them; the communities that pull together to make life better.

As 2022 exhausts us with the ugliness of war, politics, discord and hardship, let’s not lose sight of love. Let it lead the way; lift us from our grief and bring us together. Let love guide us into service to others, to make the world a better, healthier place.

Because in the end, love conquers all.