Over the past 8-9 months, I have come to believe even more strongly that our primary purpose here on this Earth is to make love. I mean the words literally – not figuratively as they are typically used together.
Towards that person who, by virtue of our misunderstanding them, we come to dislike – make love.
For that family member who committed that seemingly unforgivable offense – make love.
Between us and the different-than-us other in our lives – make love.
Towards that neighbor or stranger whose lifestyle or views you find so disagreeable – make love.
The name of the game is the same since those lusty teenage years, only the players and desired outcomes have changed. In effect, we deliberately misunderstood what making love means. The colloquial meaning is much easier than the challenge that God lays out for us. Yes…I believe that God intends for us to make love in this world. What if we could each take every opportunity every day to make more love? The potential is available to all of us. I don't pretend to be there. Unfortunately, even life-threatening illnesses don't bring with them that kind of open heart instantly.
A Church friend asked me how my perspectives have changed as a result of my cancer. Without a doubt, the renewed primacy of relationships in my life is one great tangible benefit. I have always valued my friendships and regularly see friends I've had from third grade on. Those friends from my neighborhood, high school and college have remained an important part of my life - only more so. I am inclined to bridge the distance that exists in all of my contacts. Strangers…I now want to meet. Acquaintances are potential friends. I am no longer content to experience my longtime friends on a static level but am compelled to deepen that bond. I only wish that everyone felt the same.
When it comes to making love, all that limits us is our own issues and hang-ups. Some of us withhold it. Others wait for it to be earned. Still others, sadly, don't know how to do it. Realizing this, some turn to a therapist for help. For others, it is religion and God's call that allows them to open up their hearts. Ultimately, that is the goal of each. Most unfortunately – sometimes it is our steadfast clinging to various distractions and excuses that allows us to resist the help so readily available.
Often fear keeps us from connecting with those around us. We keep our vulnerabilities to ourselves rather than appear weak or different from those seemingly strong and together folks around us. Interestingly (but not surprisingly), I have found the opposite to be true - that sharing my cancer challenges has helped me to bond with others (i.e., so many of you). Why would that be?
God allows us to admit that we are fragile and broken. Consider that his "rules" – from the Golden Rule on – are primarily intended to regulate how we relate to each other. Incidentally, that is one of the chief benefits of religion in our lives. It is not predominantly about the adherence to a particular dogma or even the faith in a set of unknowns. Religion is, rather, the opportunity for community and positive change consistent with shared beliefs. If it ain't about the people, then it isn't very good religion in my book.
So get out there, leave your fears and shackles behind – connect deeply with all those you meet and make love in this world. Lord knows we need it.