Monday, August 15, 2011

A Gift, A Choice, A Revolution

I was asked to write something for two lovely friends' lovely wedding. It was my honor to read for the very best-est bride and groom. I'm only glad I didn't blubber through the whole thing. 

When we were in school, E used to advise me, "Love wastefully."

There is a story about Jesus preaching to a crowd. Thousands of hungry people have come to listen to him, but there are only six loaves and six fishes. Jesus instructs his disciples to start handing out food, and somehow there is enough to feed everyone.

Lo, it is a miracle.

By giving the food away like they would never run out, they never did.

If, on the other hand, they had tried to split up the meager rations so that everyone got what they deserved, but no more, no one would have received anything of nourishment. Of substance.

It is only by giving everything away that we have enough for everyone. 

You can interpret this story any number of ways, but I chose to think that this story, like all good stories, is about love.

When we attempt to assign how much love is rightfully owed, there is never enough, least of all for ourselves. And yet, if you give love away like you'll never run out, you never will.

On the contrary, you'll find that the more you give, the more there is.

It builds up inside of you, and soon you find that your heart is simply too big for the rest of you.

We must love with our whole hearts.

With both hands.

We must love. Wastefully.

It's hard to remember this when you are young and striving to be good at love. We treat it like the most precious of finite resources; there is so little love in the world, how can we possibly give our away? And so it withers in result.

When we are a little older, and maybe a little wiser, we get better at loving as if it were a skill, a muscle that needs strengthening which, of course, it is.

Rilke wrote,

To love is good, too: love being difficult. For one human being to love another: that is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks, the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation.

In tackling this most difficult of tasks, in this most rewarding of challenges, we make a choice.

We chose to believe that the very best of gifts is one whose worth is only ever increased when it is given freely. We choose to risk frustration and the very deepest of hurts because know the reward can bring us joy, threefold.

We choose to believe in a glass half full.

We choose to believe, like T and E have chosen to believe, in love.

In hope.

In the full glass.

In optimism.

This belief, above all others, has the power to move still waters, unseat tyrants, and invigorate that which apathy has withered.

It is revolutionary, this choice to invest in love.

To risk.

To vow.

In asking us here today, to witness them stand together before their chosen face of God, E and T have asked us to be participant in their revolution.

With all the love they have given to each other, and to all of us here today, without asking anything in return, it is clear to me that they will never, ever run out of love.

Illustration by Shepard Fairey.