Stop Forgetting

On Saturday, my church turned 30. Covenant people, from before and now, celebrated with pasta, cake, goofy talents, memories of the past, and hopes for the next 30 years.

On Sunday, after church, some of us stood around eating microwaved plates of pasta and bowls of salad, leftovers, because abundance fed us in all things this weekend.

Then I came home to friends worried about me, messages asking if I was ok, please tell me you're ok, because even friends far away know I worship in a small Baptist church outside of San Antonio. Sunday was the day for violence to visit the small Baptist church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, not my church.

Not my church, but forever now our church, because America now owns the tragedy that happened there as people worshipped just like I had done. Even if you never stepped in a church, it is yours now.

We bought the ordeal that the people of that small Texas town of about 372 souls will live through. The crying is ours, the begging for not true is ours, all the empty places at meals, ours. We own the questions that news people will ask -- oh God, that was a stupid question, we will say.

And we will distance ourselves. How will we stop that at our church? My husband asked me that last night before sleep. We won't. I said. If violence comes for us, we will be there. We won't set a gate and require pass codes or shutter the windows with metal, or put armed guards in the parking lot with their own AKs. If violence comes for us, we will die, some of us, and others will set up weeping for an age, maybe 30 years.

We will own each instance, every concert where blood flows instead of music, every church service where bodies fall in death instead of rest on pews, every movie theater that shows a PTSD memory of how we couldn't save her from too many holes in a young body, and every school where the lessons are harder than quantum physics or how to write a paper using valid sources.

Some of us will demand weapons to protect us from weapons and others of us will demand no weapons at all. Neither one of those sides of us will do any good. We will continue to die and watch ourselves die and bury our young too soon and our old without goodbyes.

There is only one thing that will save us from this, and I don't see it today.

We will have to love this away from us. You will call me naive and say I am weak-minded. I am the strength you don't have. I am the resolve you won't claim. I tell the truth you won't accept.

We will have to love this away from us.

It won't come from more guns or less guns. We can do it with all guns or no guns. We can do it only with love.

To love it away will be the hardest act of will of a people ever performed on this earth.

Love will require putting ourselves away and not saying "me" or "I" unless the sentence we use them in contains "love." Saving ourselves will require us to love the terrorist strapped in bombs and the little boy he used to be before someone lured his mind away from the love it was created in. Preventing mass shootings will require us to love away hurt and anger and injustice wherever it lurks planning to snatch love from our hearts and hands.

Love will require us to value the other people we see every day as much as we value our own children and our own lovers. It is possible. The love we have isn't limited. It creates more than we could ever use. We just need to stop hoarding it and aim it out away from ourselves.

Loving others will require us to share and stop counting. Don't count the hurts or the bank balances. Don't add up the numbers of us behind this border or over that one.

Love got you here. It doesn't even matter what your biological parents were doing the day you became one cell from two. Love is how the universe exists and love is how it's going to move every day of our lives. There isn't even anything in the universe except love. That's all there is -- love in action, love in abundance, and, to our utter doom, pushing love away from us.

Loving like experts, like people who mean it, like we were created by it, and like that's what we eat and breathe, well, that's going to be hard. We can do it. It is our very reason for existing. It is as natural as sleep.

We have forgotten our purpose. We have lost the spark of love that happened when a sperm entered an egg and self was born. We heard the whispers of the stars moving out in the farthest galaxies at that moment. Every molecule was saying to us, Love. The one word. The only word of our creator, the only word of our expanding galaxy. Love, it is how you are here. Love, this is what you are for. Love, this is what will carry you. Love, this is how you should act. Love, this is the sum of all numbers. Love, this is the thesis of all statements of fact and stories of fiction. Love, everything you are from, everything you will do, everything you are going to is just Love. Now, don't forget it.

But we did. We forgot.

Stop forgetting. It's too hard, this forgetting. It's killing us. It's taking our futures and leaving us with regrets. This forgetting is blocking all the art and science we should have. This forgetting is in the way of discovery and wonder.

All of this forgetting is destroying us.

Just stop forgetting.

Remember the spark. Remember the last time you kissed someone who kissed you back. Remember the last time you learned a new thing you had practiced so many times. Remember the first song that felt like your song. Remember, really try to remember when one person did one thing for you that felt like it meant
you were important. And if no one has ever done any of that for you, call out to us, ask for a hand. Speak in plain words and don't be afraid. There is Love here. There is. It's what we are for.

Just stop forgetting.

All of this forgetting is destroying us.


  1. Truth. And I like your response to the question of what will we do when violence comes to our own church door.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts