Here’s a little Valentine’s essay for all the caring change-makers out there, especially those whose efforts are ignored or misunderstood.
Marrying love with justice isn’t for the faint of heart.
It takes an open heart to fall in love with the mystery and brokenness of your challenges and to make, as the author Anne Michaels suggests, “beauty necessary and a necessity out of beauty,” especially amidst ugliness, pain and desecration.
It takes a brave heart to pursue the boldest rendition of the world you want even though you are unsure how to get there and to maintain your humanity while joining with those who have been denied theirs.
It takes a clear heart to have faith in the caring values of others, regardless of their political position; to listen with understanding rather than judgment and to recognize your own behaviour in the behaviour of others, particularly those that you disagree with.
It takes a whole heart to convert your anger, fear and despair into loving actions and to sit down with those you believe are responsible for the messes, violations and abuses.
Revealing what’s in your heart – its aches, imagination and bewilderment – creates vulnerability. Doing so risks rejection from some in your tribe, perhaps even from those closest to you. You may be mocked for your naiveté or your softness. Or accused of disloyalty because you want to make the world whole.
Pursuing peace, justice and equity doesn’t have to be a call to arms or a war manoeuvre. You don’t have to fight for those values. You can be loving instead. Advocacy goes better with love. So does resistance, persistence and tenacity.
All of us are better when we’re loved. (Alistair MacLeod)