Rooted in love.
February 22nd, 2023
On Wednesday, I released an episode called Rooted in Love (so I'm never eating at Chick-fil-a again). Despite the fact that there may not be any ethical consumption under capitalism, as a loving act to my teenage self, liberating myself from the role of christian club leader, I won't be sneaking into Chick-fil-a for milkshakes anymore.
Here's the essay on love I recited in Wednesday's episode:
Love is the most important experience we have here on earth. Love in a multitude of forms though. Love is not confined to a singular exchange or a perfect interaction. My dance teacher says I love you to students before they leave and I was touched by her open heart to share love with her students. Sometimes I trick myself into believing that love means complete understanding. But I really think it's more in the effort and the trying. I wouldn't even attempt to understand, sister, if I didn't love you.
That's why I think the greatest act of love is curiosity. If you're curious about something, you've given it enough attention and care to be curious and to express that curiosity though inquiry. And you have to be willing to be curious about yourself too, because if you are curious about the other and are provoked to question something, you will inevitably learn something about yourself or your own life, which could be scary if you aren't prepared to face yourself and your own self concept. Because if you are truly listening you are forced to learn something about yourself or the world.
Sometimes love can even be expressed in silence. Because silence seems to communicate respect or a genuine acknowledgement that I don't know what to say or ask to begin to understand an experience so different than my own. And that can be genuine. Love can be expressed in time spent together, but other times it may be expressed in distance. Sometimes my space from you may be loving, if I need to think through something or understand myself or the situation better before being present or speaking.
I'll never forget the young woman that I took care of in Seattle who was dying of breast cancer at the age of 39 years old. She was in pain. She had a cousin occasionally with her at the bedside, but she'd never married or had children. She wore fuzzy socks on her small feet and was frustrated everytime she had to press the call button to ask for assistance getting to the commode. Sometimes she did get really upset --"don't rush me!!", she said while moving in pain as I held her hips and the back of her gown closed. I think the cancer had metastasized to her brain, so I held no ill feeling regarding her labile mood. At that time, though, I believe I was working nights and only had 5 patients, so I was able to care for myself enough to have patience and cultivate understanding for my patients. I didn't realize that the time it takes to process grief is a luxury not all are afforded.
This is what she said to me one night while we were talking about our mutual love of butterflies:
"I think that I went through this so that I could experience real love. I never experienced that kind of genuine love like I have from you all"
She had never experienced genuine love as care, which I think most of us think of first when we think about what love means.
I did feel like offerring love to those who had never received it in the form of care was part of my duty as a nurse.