I Have Decided To Stick With Love

January 17, 2011

“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” Thus spake Martin Luther King. Sort of.

He actually said this:

I have also decided to stick with love, for I know that love is ultimately the only answer  to mankind’s problems. And  I’m going  to  talk about it everywhere  I go. I know it isn’t popular to talk about it in some circles today. And I’m not talking about emotional bosh when  I talk about love; I’m talking about a strong, demanding  love.  For  I have seen  too much hate. I’ve seen too much hate on the faces of sheriffs in the South. I’ve seen hate on  the  faces of too many Klansmen and  too many White Citizens Councilors in  the South to want to hate, myself, because every time I see it, I know that it does something to their faces and their personalities, and I say to myself that hate is too great a burden to bear.  I have decided to love. If you are seeking the highest good, I think you can find it through love.

He’s right, of course. And he’s still right that talking about love isn’t popular in some circles, that for some, talk of love is just so much bosh and crap and none of us really believes that stuff, do we? Because talking about love is too easy, and real problems require real solutions, not sentimentalism, and isn’t everyone who prattles on about love at best a misguided optimist, of the cock-eyed variety, at worst an insincere manipulator, and shouldn’t we all just be getting angry?

No. No. Because nothing good was ever achieved through anger and hate. Because moving through the world wearing shit-colored glasses blinds us to the world-changing possibilities of hope and friendship and community and, yes, love. Because whether we’re talking about the assholes that wander the Internet looking for opportunities to spread ugliness and hostility or the pundits and politicos who put their enemies in crosshairs or the poor, miserable souls who think – or claim to think – that God tells them to hate – we’re talking about the same thing. We’re talking about the burden of hate. It drags us down. Whether it comes in small parcels or large, it weighs us down. It breaks our backs and it binds our arms and it (alongside, I would argue, apathy, which is just hate leached of its color and energy) is the thing that prevents us from seeing good and feeling good and realizing real change. It blinds us. It makes us ugly, and it makes it so that we can’t see how ugly we’ve become.

But. We can refuse it. We can decide to refuse the burden of hate; we can opt to not let it touch our shoulders. We can choose to stick with love, whatever that looks like. We can choose to stick with love. It’s not always easy – I get angry; I get lots angry and I get bitchy and I sometimes really struggle with the whole love thy neighbor thing because, seriously, the global neighborhood includes people like the Westboro Baptists – but still. We can choose to stick with love.

Let’s.

Please.

(Consider doing a kindness today. Consider doing two.)

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    { 10 comments }

    sashalyn January 17, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    In other words, be a peacemaker. This is one of my resolutions for 2011. I’m not always graceful, but it’s worth something that I try, I think. I will embrace love indeed.

    Laura (Nahbee) January 17, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    I want to stand up and clap after reading this post, Catherine.

    Hate and anger really do blind us, as humans, to the possibilities that are out there. To solutions. To working together.

    I’ve gained so much by being open. Though sometimes I complain a bit about the “tell me” face that I have. People tell me all kinds of things! But I cannot believe that hate and anger are the way to go. Compassion, listening, caring…and yes, love…those things are the passageways to solutions for our problems.

    Thank you for reminding us all.
    .-= Laura (Nahbee)´s last blog ..Anxiety in Children =-.

    Amy January 17, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    YES!

    A few years ago I had a few particularly difficult 4th grade students. I was so stressed trying to redirect their challenging behaviors. Their other teachers were so fed up with them they didn’t know what to do. I tried rewards, bribes, punishments, coercing, everything. I finally said screw it. I was going to love them as they were, disruptive outbursts and all. And you know what? THAT was all they needed. I showered them with love. I hugged them and smiled at them and got all teary eyed at them whenever they did something great. I did happy dances for them when they got a better score on this week’s spelling test than last week’s. When they graduated my school last year as 8th graders, I sobbed when I hugged them goodbye for the last time. I really think the goodness in them now is partly due to the unconditional love they got from their goofy teacher. At least I hope so.

    Julie January 17, 2011 at 8:06 pm

    @Amy,

    Thank God there are teachers like you! I don’t know if I could love so unconditionally. I work with children every day, but only for an hour or so and then they go on their way. I have the utmost admiration for teachers who are with their students for the day, every day. I don’t have the stamina, but I’m glad you do.

    Amy January 17, 2011 at 10:54 pm

    @Julie, it WAS totally exhausting some days. But it was a happy exhaustion instead of the defeated type. I’ll take that any day!

    Brenna January 17, 2011 at 10:00 pm

    I have been thinking a lot today about what the world might look like if we all could choose love, if we could all focus on the positive, if we could all let our lights shine and encourage the lights of those around us to shine through the darkness. Wouldn’t that be a better world to leave our children?
    .-= Brenna´s last blog ..Martin Luther King Jr- kids- and dreams… =-.

    Anna January 18, 2011 at 9:41 am

    Good plan.
    .-= Anna´s last blog ..Unfaithful… =-.

    kelly @kellynaturally January 18, 2011 at 10:45 am

    There’s never anything wrong with making choices through love and light. The positive energy we all have inside ourselves… if we’d only share it. Imagine the possibilities. :)

    Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. ~Martin Luther King Jr
    .-= kelly @kellynaturally´s last blog ..Parenting Through the Perfect Storm =-.

    Judy January 18, 2011 at 11:05 am

    I have always believed that we are here to love each other, even when the other guy is not lovable. People who choose to do harm are alien creatures to me.

    keishua January 21, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    This is so powerful. I am glad I stumbled upon you. Love is such a precious thing and the only thing that can overcome hate.
    .-= keishua´s last blog ..My Review- The Third Week of the Year =-.

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