What do we do when we see it coming at us too fast to escape, too strong to fight against?
Death, illness, trauma or tragedy.
Those things that bring us to our knees in prayer or in weakness, but leveled, hurting, imploding.
When we can’t hide the wail behind our walls of sanity, when there’s no civilized way out because there was no civilized way in, can we connect with each other here? Here in the mud, here in the muck. Can we who have not been leveled descend, not to dig them out, but to sit with them in their pain?
Isn’t this the ultimate honor, this holding our fellow human (with our arms or words or presence) in birth or in death, in grief or in gratitude, in sorrow or in success but with compassion?
Is this what it means to be human? To sit with another in this deep trench of vulnerability, beneath all the layers of what-we-thought-mattered and to finally know, on the level of our bones, the only thing that matters and has ever mattered is love.
Not the small love we only offer to those who love us back. The big love that does not require reciprocity. The love that asks the hard questions and listens to the uncomfortable answers. The love that is enlarged by our differences instead of threatened by them. The love that heals by seeing our weakness, acknowledging our pain, welcoming our humanity and loving us, not in spite of it, but because of it.
That’s the question for humanity. Can we love bigger? Can we at least try?
Originally published on The Huffington Post.