carry your candle, run to the darkness
seek out the helpless, deceived and poor
hold out your candle for all to see it
take your candle, and go light your world
Sometime in college, I learned this cheesy song. It stuck. I think S and I even put it somewhere in our wedding program. I think. I mean, that was almost 11 years ago. Pre-kids, I would have known, but post kids? I’m lucky if I remember what I did over the weekend.
But, there was a time when S and I were very green. We looked forward to the future in a way that’s a bit embarrassing to think about now – with eyes wide open, with our palms up, with our hearts broken for others. We dreamed about being a doctor and social worker without borders. We believed that with our love, kindness, and empathy, we could change the world. We thought as long as we carried our hearts on our sleeves, no one could dampen our passion for people. No one could make us second guess what we thought we were created to do. With everything we were, we stood firm.
Along the way, pieces of these strong convictions started chipping away. Looking back, I see two incredibly naive 20 something year olds. Sometimes, I feel embarrassed for them. Because everything that is happening in our world today? In our country. In our community. It would appear that we can’t survive on love. It seems to me, that at every turn, we’ve been told some way or another, that love is not enough. That compassion is not safe. That kindness is too much work. And equality? Might cost too much.
We question how we can raise our daughters in this environment. Where we laugh at peoples names that are different from what we are comfortable with. Where we draw conclusions on a person’s character solely based on the color of their skin. Who they praise. Who they love. Or how they identify themselves. Where we fear what we do not understand. Where we draw lines – us versus them. Legal versus illegal. Good versus bad.
It takes everything within us to continue to love. To continue to pursue our naive dreams of changing the world. To continue to have hard conversations with each other. With our friends. With our children.
The good thing about growing up and developing calluses is being ok with what people think of us. Good or bad. Lots of bad lately, it seems. Though sometimes it hurts. Sometimes it’s devastating. And I wonder – who is with us? Who is against us? And we may never know. But in the end, does it really matter? Because we are living out what we believe to be true. What we believe whole heartedly:
Love the Lord your God with all your heart. with all your soul. with all your mind. This. is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it. Love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 22:37 – 39)
So, we love. Even when it hurts. Even when we are fearful. Even when it’s ugly. And especially when it’s hard. We love.