I believe that everything always comes back to love. A Greek word for love is tattooed on the back on my neck and in everything I do and everything I give my energy to comes back, for me, to love. The problem is that I have found it difficult to express to people what exactly I mean by love—love, you see, is used so often and in so many contexts that I sometimes wonder if, when I talk so fervently about love, people get my point. Here is what Martin Luther King Jr.’s definition of agape, the word for love that is tattooed on the back of my neck.
Agape is something of the understanding, creative, redemptive goodwill for all men. It is a love that seeks nothing in return. It is an overflowing love; it’s what theologians would call the love of God working in the lives of men. And when you rise to love on this level, you begin to love men, not because they are likeable, but because God loves them. You look at every man, and you love him because you know God loves him.
That being said, I do not necessarily align myself in the same religious tradition as Martin Luther King Jr (or anyone else, for that matter), but I do believe in the universal deservingness of love. The love I chose to hold within myself for all of humanity is pure expression of my beliefs and I think it comes from a sprit that is within each life (human or otherwise), that flows through us all, connecting us to one another. I cherish each life and therefore choose to love humanity. Humanity. That word, just today, became more important to me than ever before. It changed for me because I realized that fear and hate end in dehumanization, which in turn breeds more dehumanization. When we are taught to look at human beings as anything less than the LIFE and the SPIRIT that they hold, we run the risk of extending that dehumanization to more and more people, including even ourselves. That example encourages more people to dehumanize, creating a chain of hatred, fear and violence. The chain can be broken though by the simple concept I have written about before: choice. We are constantly presented with opportunities to makes choices and I just recently wrote about choosing love. But why? Why choose love? I mean, let’s be honest, it is hard, meaning it takes courage, but where does the courage flow from? I believe that courage comes directly from love for someone or something, something I am sure I will come back to at a later date. But love of who? Love of what? Humanity. Realizing that we all make up humanity, that we are all connected, valued, part of a universal community, encouraging feelings of solidarity within one’s heart—this, this is what gives us the courage to choose love each and every day of our lives.