“I’ve decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”
-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
When I read those words of Dr. King, my heart grows full. I feel the rightness of his words in my body. Love fills and warms the heart of the lover and of the beloved, be it a single person, a community, or, I believe, the very universe itself. Love widens and expands all in its reach, filling what is empty.
Hate fills in a different way, becomes a heaviness that weighs down, closes in, occupies space so that there is not room for that which is growing and healthy and life-affirming. Hate shrinks the hater.
King is right. Hate is too great a burden to bear.
And yet we chose it, over and over again.
The power and the beauty of Unitarian Universalism is how it addresses that. Rather than railing at us to love our neighbors (although it certainly acknowledges that to be a good idea), or chastising us for hating, it refocuses our attention on behavior.
Rather than telling us to love, it encourages us to do the behaviors that love would engender; to engage in the practices that grow a full heart and heal the world’s hurts.
I learned long ago that it is easier to act one’s way into a new feeling than it is to feel one’s way into a new action. When we chose the behaviors that love would call forth, we begin to feel the wholeness of ourselves and of the healing we can bring.
February is, interestingly, the month of love and Black History Month. You might think they are not connected, and it may be that it is the serendipity of timing, or the ironic humor of the God of Love and Justice, that put these two together in a partnership of sorts.
King is right. It is easier on the heart to stick with love. And black history tells us that those who are white have a backlog of loving to do. It is not a burden, this learning to choose love, but a grace-filled opportunity.
Even when we are not feeling loving we can still do acts of love. Our faith, and my experience tell me that such acting is the surest route we know to loving.
With love and blessings,