On my drive to Washington D.C. almost two weeks ago,
before my car trouble,
before meeting Phil the mechanic who spent two years of his childhood in an iron lung fighting polio,
before my husband told me to “just rent a car and go” to the March and “we’ll figure out the next step” (such love!),
before I reunited with a best friend from high school and debated hope and despair for hours on our drive,
before dinner with family members in Virginia of different political views but the very same love in their hearts,
before joining thousands of people of different genders, abilities, ages, ethnicities, skin color, religions, orientations, and identities in the largest protest the country has seen,
before being welcomed into the home of a beautiful social worker and yogi for an impromptu night of vulnerable conversation,
before meeting the many people who helped me to ultimately resolve the previously mentioned car issue, including John from Greece and Rima from Syria,
before the gift of an unplanned phone call with someone with whom I feared I may lose touch (but most assuredly never will)…
before what seems a dozen other unanticipated moments of authentic connection in the span of four days…
I listened to an interview of civil rights activist and congressional representative John Lewis with Krista Tippet from On Being. I’m not sure if it was his words, or the nature of the event to which I was making my pilgrimage, or if the universe was conspiring to roll out a multi-colored patchwork carpet of love… but I can say that the events of the weekend rippled through my core and seemed to continue outward, and John’s words of “Love in Action” were manifested before my eyes.
He described the non-violent protests of the Civil Rights movement as “Love in Action,” making the point that Marches can be loving, protests can be uplifting… it depends on the intention and actions of the participants: non-violence, living as if what you stand (or sit) for is already happening, peaceful protests, and even viewing your “opposition” with grace.
In the four days of my journey to and from D.C., I was embraced by people who voted the opposing ticket, learned from those "outside of my zip code" (as my aunt says), I was helped by immigrants, I shared smiles, stories, and received gifts from the veritable rainbow of diversity that is America. I was both a participant in and receiver of love in action.
We tend to think of love as a feeling, but it is the act of love that makes the impact. I can tell you that I love you, but if I stand outside of the airport in which you are currently detained, if I share my food with you, if I declare that your life matters without fear of that taking away from the meaning of mine, if I stop what I am doing to truly see and hear you, if I stand with you and demand that your rights, and all of our rights, be protected… that is love in action.
It is looking towards love and away from fear and hate… living each day demonstrating the very values you are standing for, shouting for… and believing others are capable of the same… nourishing yourself with relationships, images, music, words, spaces, and energy that highlight what you and your community are working for, not against… practicing loving kindness towards yourself….this is love in action.
And when we practice love in action, my hope is that there is an invitation to others, spoken or otherwise, to join us… that we find greater sense of purpose in our daily actions, deeper care for all living beings, and a stronger sense of hope for the future.
We would love to know how you are witnessing or practicing love in action... we could always use more inspiration.