The Path of Love
In my family of origin, it is tradition to end every phone call with “I love you.” It took my wife a little time to get used to this. While she comes from a loving family, they don’t say “I love you” nearly as often as my family does. But Virginia’s gotten used to this tradition, and now our daughter also ends most phone and video calls with an “I love you.” One thing I appreciate about this practice is that we do it regardless of how we are feeling. It doesn’t matter if the conversation was short or long, enjoyable or stressful. It doesn’t matter if we are happy or tired or frustrated. Ending with an “I love you” is not about how we feel in the moment. It is a habit, formed in the context of our commitment to be family.
Our Soul Matters theme as Unitarian Universalists this month is “The Path of Love.” I find thinking of love as a path to be helpful. When we move along a path, we don’t think about every single motion (even if we are trying to be mindful). If we are walking, our feet and ankles and knees move in a well-practiced rhythm. If we are using a wheelchair, our arms and wrists and hands know just what to do. So it is with moving along the path of love. If we have committed to traveling this path, getting started requires intention, but over time, a lot of our movements will simply become habit.
If I set up an automatic monthly donation to a cause I believe in, my giving is an ongoing habit of love for justice – even if it isn’t accompanied by any particular awareness or emotion when the monthly transfer occurs. If I compost my food scraps to reduce landfill waste, my efforts are an ongoing habit of love for this planet – even if it’s just become the way we do things in our household and doesn’t require any deep thought about the environment. And when my family says “I love you” at the end of a call, that expression is an ongoing habit of love for one another – even if it’s just part of our conversational routine.
How is your journey along the path of love going?
What movements come easily and automatically by this point?
What movements are new to you or are still a bit of a struggle?
I invite you to consider these questions with me this month as we explore the path of love together.
Rev. Jenn Gracen