Do any of you remember the song by the Captain and Tennille, written by Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield, “Love Will Keep Us Together?”
I was so sad when I heard recently that they were divorcing. Not that I know them personally. It’s just a hard thing to go through, no matter what the situation, and well, yeah, sad.
So I’ve been thinking about that song and that sentiment this evening. I’m sorry. This has been a hard week. With issues nationally and personally begging for love and falling short, it’s been emotionally exhausting.
Unfortunately, the need for love doesn’t take holidays or vacations. Our world, our communities, our people–need love all day, every day.
And it’s up to us to share it.
I’ve seen a lot of things this past week that have pained me and caused me to grieve for us as a people. People patting themselves on the backs for “convincing” World Vision to reverse its hiring policy change by threatening to cancel their sponsorships of a child in need. Good-NESS. Pastors of mega-churches suggesting their friends and congregants should make the call and cancel sponsorships, and then later celebrating a “victory for the church.” Friends posting pictures of people in restaurants or stores dressed differently, poking fun at how they look. Oh my, how many times have I left home to get something for a sick young’un, looking like a hot mess? There are probably pictures of me floating around somewhere too. *sigh*
I have been honored, however, to read a few thoughts others have shared about the World Vision hiring policy change and reversal that are encouraging and empowering. I appreciate that they are willing to step up and speak out, not necessarily on either side of the issues, but instead, for love. Love will keep us together, right? And we’re made for community, for togetherness, for loving each other. No matter how hard that is. (And I know of which I speak, my friends.)
Darian Burns wrote a great post (link here) about the stance that World Vision took. And about how love didn’t happen in any of this. But some of my favorite words he wrote were in his replies to the comments. He referred to the sinful responses following the announcement of the policy change. Many of the responses to World Vision’s announcement were nowhere near loving, so yes, sinful is a good word for them.
He also wrote this:
I cling to these words. I do not believe it’s up to me. At all. I do not presume to think I know all the right answers, and I do not believe I’m going to “change someone” by arguing my points over and over and over. To love and love and love some more. That is what I feel called to do.
Again, not easy. But there it is. There’s no compromising on that one. I’ve had Mama and Jesus telling me that, to be kind and loving, all my life. How can I think it’s okay to do otherwise?
Heather at the Extraordinary Ordinary wrote a heart-tugging post about what love looks like in response to the hard things going on this week. In sharing her story, she mentioned that she had Jehovah’s Witnesses come by her home. Rather than slamming the door shut, she received them with love, wondering about their stories and lives. Beautiful.
It reminded me of a similar experience I had. A few years ago we had two Jehovah’s Witness ladies who came by our house once a month. I didn’t have much if any previous experience with the whole knocking at your door and talking about Jesus thing, so I was mostly fascinated. That might have read as enthusiasm and receptiveness on my face. And that’s okay. Because what I found was they were lovely people. We stood and visited on my front porch, sometimes for just a few minutes and sometimes longer. One time after they’d been by a couple of times, they knocked and I went to the door wiping away the tears I’d been crying over the death of my Daddy just two weeks before. They kindly asked, I shared, and their compassion was a thing of beauty. An art. I am thankful to this day for their kindness.
Because, you see, we had more in common than not. Never mind the difference in religion, beliefs, race, family and geographical backgrounds–we all three knew what it was like to be a woman, and we all knew what sadness felt like. And in that moment, we were all together. Loving each other. Them with compassion and me with appreciation.
Lord have mercy.
In her discussion on what love looks like, Heather writes:
I don’t care if you are gay, straight, overly hairy or purple. I don’t care if you’ve had an abortion or if you’ve slept with 398 people. This is not my concern. I will not regret not being concerned about this. I will not regret loving you. Concerning myself with all of those things is unloving because we cannot possibly over-think such things without judgment. It’s just impossible.
These might possibly be some of my favorite words ever. Man, I wish I’d written them. Thank you Heather.
Because that is truth.
I will not regret not letting our differences keep me from hearing your story. I will not regret not letting the fact that you are sleeping in the woods in your homemade campsite keep me from loving you like a brother. I will not regret not letting that you shared with me that you were molested by your uncle as a child and are now a lesbian keep me from being friends with you. We both know what broken relationships look like; it doesn’t matter that we have different kind of relationships. I will not regret getting to know you beyond the first impression that might have been more about me than you. But what I will regret is if I let any of these things keep me from stepping out of my comfort zone. And loving you. And all of your stories.
And you know what else?
I hope that someone will do these same things for me. I hope they won’t regret not letting my messy house keep them from pursuing a friendship with me anyway. I hope they’ll work around my quirky ways and oddities and want to hear my stories too. (And I hope they won’t take incriminating photos of me on my last-minute grocery runs for Ginger Ale and saltines.)
I hope I’ll be loved.
We can all use more of that in this world. And if we share it, as Heather pointed out, I don’t think we’ll regret it.
Love will keep us together. And we need each other, y’all. Really.