But we’re all flawed.
It all started when one woman got up to let another woman have a seat on the bus. She sat down, dressed for a night out, Valentine’s Day pink. Both women started talking about the weather. The one sitting down was without a coat and the other woman was astonished. “You not cold, ma?! I’m always cold!” Her Brooklyn accent was remarkable, especially in a city like Pittsburgh.
Another guy heard her speak about Brooklyn. He perked up.
He was from the Bronx. They started to wax poetic about New York City. The food they missed — ackee and saltfish — and the diversity that abounds. Her accent was massive, his crept out when he spoke. For a moment, they were at home. And it felt good to meet someone from the place that felt so distant to the both of them.
That to me was love.
It wasn’t about romance. It wasn’t about sex. It wasn’t about flowers, candy, gifts. It wasn’t about The Notebook. It wasn’t about Love & Basketball. It wasn’t about Moonlight. It wasn’t a Facebook post. It wasn’t a Instagram story.
It was respect, sincerity, relatability. It was about being in the same space with others, acknowledging their personhood, engaging their spirits. We do that everyday. In theory, it isn’t hard.
But we’re human. Susceptible to hate, anger, judgement and envy. We can be heartless, thoughtless and cruel. We throws stones at glass houses, even homes built by us and for us that house us. Self-love is a fad. We struggle to be present. We can’t accept being told that we’re loved.
We are. You are.
I love you and I don’t even know you.
I don’t look at love romantically. I don’t even look at love within the framework of family and friends. I look at love as a necessary act. I look at love the same way I look at breathing: essential. We can’t maintain as human beings brimming with hate. Our bodies crumble when we’re in pain. We ache with stress. Stress kills.
Being a Christian reminds me that loving others is a sliver of redemption. To carry hate is pointless and fruitless. That coming into meeting others with love recognizes God’s presence among us. God is love. God so loved the world that He gave us Jesus. That love was revolutionary. If God could do that, loving others should be ingrained in us as followers and believers.
But Paul didn’t write 1 Corinthians 13 for the sake of being poetic.
We needed to be reminded and reprimanded. We needed a jolt, a reminder to remember who we are. We always do. Sin can overwhelmed us. But redemption is real. Grace is real. Redemption and grace are acts of love.
We show redemption and grace in living and breathing. Walking into spaces with love. That’s not revolutionary. That’s practical. That’s survival. That’s us.