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TotD: Carter Heyward on Love

Carter Hey­ward:

Love, like truth and beau­ty, is con­crete. Love is not fun­da­men­tal­ly a sweet feel­ing; not, at heart, a mat­ter of sen­ti­ment, attach­ment, or being “drawn toward.” Love is active, effec­tive, a mat­ter of mak­ing rec­i­p­ro­cal and mutu­al­ly ben­e­fi­cial rela­tion with one’s friends and ene­mies. Love cre­ates right­eous­ness, or jus­tice, here on earth. To make love is to make jus­tice. As advo­cates and activists for jus­tice know, lov­ing involves strug­gle, resis­tance, risk. Peo­ple work­ing today on behalf of women, blacks, les­bians and gay men, the aging, the poor in this coun­try and else­where know that mak­ing jus­tice is not a warm, fuzzy expe­ri­ence. I think also that sex­u­al lovers and good friends know that the most com­pelling rela­tion­ships demand hard work, patience, and a will­ing­ness to endure ten­sions and anx­i­ety in cre­at­ing mutu­al­ly empow­er­ing bonds.

For this rea­son lov­ing involves com­mit­ment. We are not auto­mat­ic lovers of self, oth­ers, world, or God. Love does not just hap­pen. We are not love machines, pup­pets on the strings of a deity called “love.” Love is a choice–not sim­ply, or nec­es­sar­i­ly, a ratio­nal choice, but rather a will­ing­ness to be present to oth­ers with­out pre­tense or guile. Love is a con­ver­sion to humanity–a will­ing­ness to par­tic­i­pate with oth­ers in the heal­ing of a bro­ken world and bro­ken lives. Love is the choice to expe­ri­ence life as a mem­ber of the human fam­i­ly, a part­ner in the dance of life, rather than as an alien in the world or as a deity above the world, aloof and apart from human flesh.

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