Love Lifts Us Up Where We Belong
Over the break I took advantage of having time to read simply for the joy of reading. There were no reading responses due, papers to write, or exams to prepare for. One of the first books that I read was Maya Angelou’s new book, Mom and Me and Mom, which tells the story of Maya Angelou’s history with her mother. I am still struck, weeks later, by the following lines: “Love heals. Heals and liberates. I use the word love, not meaning sentimentality, but a condition so strong that it may be that which holds the stars in their heavenly positions and that which causes the blood to flow orderly in our veins ”. The romantic in me could not help but to swoon as I read the lines over and over again pondering about that type of salvific love.
At the turn of this semester, I am half way done with this MDiv program. There have been days when I felt like I am at the top of my game; days when I could answer all the questions and I produced outstanding work. However, there have also been days that I like to refer to as “the dark night of my soul.” These dark nights have not only made me question if the MDiv program was the right choice, but have shaken the very foundations of my faith and my spiritual walk; they have often left me feeling cold, desolate, and alone. However, if I took anything away from the movie Finding Nemo, I have learned to “just keep swimming” through these dark nights.
Perhaps it was my stubborn will to “just keep swimming” that made Angelou’s quote stick out to me. You see, it has consistently been love that has gotten me over the humps and bumps of the day; the love shared when a concerned friend refuses to accept the bluff that everything is fine, or the love of a professor that finds a way to affirm me even when I find myself in the muck and mire of my situation. Love liberates. Love gives us the hope that we can make it through, soothing our wounds and healing our brokenness. The same love that guided the Magi to the young child swaddled in a manger, guides weary divinity school students through the difficulties of the semester. Love celebrates with us in our successes and gently cradles us in our failures.
This type of love is not your sappy high school love story. Angelou says that this type of love holds the stars in the sky . While at times it may seem to ebb and flow, this type of love is always doing the most that it can do. It seeks to liberate the oppressed and free the hostage. It releases us from the limitations that we put on ourselves and invites us to flourish, allowing the in-breaking of the eschatological kindom.
Last week was a start of a brand new semester, and I am not sure what it will bring for you or for me. However, I am reminded of the following words from the movie, V from Vendetta, “I hope that the world turns, and that things get better. But what I hope most of all is that you understand what I mean when I tell you that, even though I do not know you, and even though I may never meet you, laugh with you, cry with you, or kiss you, I love you. With all my heart, I love you. ”
Ashton is a second year student with interests in theology, public policy, and eating sushi. After graduating, Ashton plans to pursue a career in religious lobbying.