Where does love stop?
Where does hate start?
Kim Davis, the county clerk in Kentucky who has refused to do her job and issue marriage licenses to gay couples, is being celebrated by a slice of America for choosing to put her beliefs over her duty. The issue here is not about gay marriage or her faith. The issue is hate. She stands as an enemy of equality. A hero of hate.
So, what can we do about this? I propose that we shower her with love.
Why? Not because of her limited beliefs, which I fervently disagree with. We should shower her with love because she doesn’t understand love. Her conception of love contains right and wrong. Us and them.
Unconditional love includes everyone, including people we don’t like. Martin Luther King spoke about this, saying that he did not like those who harassed him, but he chose to love them. To simply judge Kim for her beliefs and stance places us in the same territory she occupies. It makes us no different from her. We can choose love instead.
In paying attention to Kim’s story, through the eyes of compassion I see that Kim is overwhelmed and scared, which has manifested in her inarticulate belligerence. She is being given an opportunity to grow with the world watching, while at the same time being celebrated by those who share her beliefs.
The spiritual teacher Ram Dass speaks about how anything that makes someone “them” and you “us” keeps us in separation. When we see everyone as part of ourselves, we enter a space of Oneness, or total unity with each being. Ram Dass’ assessment about the West is that we are addicted to individual differences, meaning that we celebrate what make us different from other people, rather than focusing on our commonality.
What does unify every single person on the planet is the quest for peace and love. All of us want those two things. It is our methods that differ. We have an ongoing habit in human history to believe that we will enjoy peace when our enemies are defeated or dead. This has yet to work, despite repeated and continued efforts.
The fact is that we evolve. One hundred years ago women did not have the right to vote in the United States. It took one hundred years for the world to fully acknowledge that the Armenia Genocide actually happened. We no longer use the word negro. Our ongoing evolution is about releasing hate and embracing love. We do that moment by moment, choice by choice. We are evolving.
Part of what is challenging for me about Kim’s beliefs is that they are on the wrong side of history. The misinformed views of one woman who has a chaotic history of marriage herself will not sway those who celebrate everyone’s right to thrive. The ship regarding gay marriage has already sailed. It’s here. It is not going away. We are still collectively working on unconditional love.
The use of the term “unconditional love” is frequently conditional. This often looks like “I love you, you and you, but not them.” Conditional love has a context. “I will love those who agree with my views unconditionally, but not those who don’t.” Our collective effort is to put the “un” back in “unconditional love”.
What might help us in that goal is to see where we are heading as a species – Oneness. We are all one with everything and everyone in the Universe – people, plants, and planets alike. An absence of separation. What will the world be like when we recognize that we are all connected? There will be no need for weapons, as there will be no violence, crime or war. We will rapidly make sure that everyone’s needs are met. Imagine the urgency in which we will eradicate hunger and disease. We will take care of each other and celebrate our unity. With this shift in focus, we will be able to nurture our planet and all the creatures we share it with. We will all thrive together, recognizing that there is enough of everything for everyone. Plenty of resources. Plenty of space. Plenty of love. Plenty of peace.
Forgiving someone does not mean that you condone their actions. It means that you are choosing to release suffering. Loving someone whom you disagree with is similar. Love does not mean you agree, it means that you see beyond circumstances. By showering Kim with love, we create the space for something other than judgement and fear (the root of hate) to occur. We are choosing to not be afraid of the unfamiliar.
Loving her might begin with a feeling of celebration. We can celebrate her life, and appreciate that she is doing her absolute best with the consciousness that she has. We can affirm her well being and peace of mind. We can celebrate all the opportunity she has to right now to see goodness in everyone. To witness the continuity of kindness in people.
Let’s choose to love. Let’s make hate obsolete by loving in this present moment.
Let’s shower Kim with love. In doing so we get to actively be in the energy of unconditional love, rather than tread over recycled ground judgment upon judgment. There is mastery in focusing on what we want rather than reacting to circumstances.
We can allow this current example of conditional love to spark us into loving everyone unconditionally – including ourselves – and never let love stop.