Why is it that we are shocked or astonished by acts of love? Why is it that we are surprised by those who show love and care to others, regardless of color, sex, orientation, politics, belief (or the lack thereof)? Why are we shocked when that matters not a whit to someone but the other person’s humanity does?
In the past few years, we have witnessed such division and vitriolic rhetoric in our society as to break hearts and burden souls. The negativity has laid heavy on my own heart and, more than once, wrung tears from my eyes because it can seem insurmountable. How did this come to be such a norm that, when one does show kindness and love, it is met with a sense of incredulity and awe? I do not believe that it is right or correct to solely blame religion or politics for this shift in social consciousness. We, as human beings, are losing the courage to love. It feels at times that we are so concerned with being recognized – with having our rights and our personal brand of humanity or life recognized – that we fail to recognize the humanity in others. We see them merely as a (wrong) nationality, a (wrong) religion, a (wrong) political/social position, or a (wrong) sexual orientation, not as fellow human beings to whom we can show kindness, respect, and love. Love, the action and not the emotion, has to be taught. How then can we hope to teach it if we do not show it?
Bill Hybels, founder of the Global Leadership Summit, admonishes that we should “serve people joyfully and indiscriminately”. Could we do life any better than that? If we took the chances afforded us to serve and help others, or even to show them a little love, what good could we do? Instead of pouring our vitriol and telling people how wrong they are, what if we treated them like who they are: a person. A person who may have thoughts, opinions, positions, and beliefs different from ours but a person nonetheless. Can we not meet them where they are in their humanity and ours? Do not mistake me: it costs to show love. It can cost a great deal. But are you willing to at least try? To make even a moment’s difference or maybe restore someone else’s faith in humanity and that love/kindness/goodness really do exist? I cannot tell you the number of times that someone has given of that hope to me and restored my heart in a difficult time, by the smallest of acts.
We are shocked and awed by love in 2015. It is why videos go viral, campaigns overflow, and everyday people show up on talk shows and news broadcasts. I would much rather that love be commonplace and everyday. To know that we share in each other’s humanity, can accept it and each other, and help each other to stand through life. What is even a small thing that you can do today to help make love commonplace instead of a rarity fit for the evening news? Go and do it.