Yesterday our world took another spin into the darkness. Many people were killed by a misguided 19 year old in the school he was from. Yesterday was also Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday, and while there is so much more to learn about the school shooting, there is much we know about Valentine’s and Ash Wednesday.
This “Ash Wednesday Valentine’s Day” (The first time together since the end of World War II) gives us an opportunity to reconsider what love is and what love is not.
Authentic love challenges us “to run the risk of a face-to-face encounter with others, with their physical presence which challenges us, with their pain and their pleas, with their joy which infects us in our close and continuous interaction.”But that reality is more difficult today. When we can block out the ugly sounds of the world with our earphones, our perceptions remain shallow. When we can skim and scroll through our news, we do not have to internalize the suffering of others and, in turn, prevent ourselves from suffering under the unbearable brokenness of our world. When we can “friend” mere acquaintances or total strangers on social media and then — if necessary — “unfriend” real friends without the hard work of encounter, confrontation and reconciliation, then our relationships become superficial, artificial and incomplete. Today when the news shoves hurt and suffering at us it is hard to block out the reality of our recent loss. Love is messy, gritty, and at times it hurts but most importantly it requires action. If you are feeling tested, hurt, tired or depressed, (insert other words here) then, it is a time to learn how to love again. This can go beyond creed or faith. It is an invitation to everyone who wants to find the fullest measure of living. Now is a good time to ask ourselves what we can do to enrich our sense and practice of loving.
But whether we see it or not today, LOVE is still alive. It is alive in anyone who has suffered intense loss and kept moving, who has made the decision to love another with no promise of a reward, who has doubted the existence of God and yet prayed anyway and who has endured suffering for the sake of someone else and found great strength in doing so.
“Blessings on your journey”