Ray Bradbury said this: “Looking back over a lifetime, you see that love was the answer to everything.”
This is a variation on a meme — “God is the Answer. What is your question?” — but for folks (perhaps like me) who are uncomfortable talking about God, let’s talk about love.
When a guy lives to be 92 years old, and he tells you, “Looking back over a lifetime, you see that love was the answer to everything,” you have to pay attention, because he is looking back over a very long lifetime, and that is a big statement.
You won’t be surprised to hear that I buy into this theory, and not just because my hero Ray said it. For one thing, of course, another of my heroes said, “Love your neighbor,” so the two statements complement each other.
What’s the answer when two people — or two groups of people, or two families, or two nations — have a disagreement? Love your way to an understanding.
Love is a decision sometimes, not a pie-in-the-sky, hippie-dippy, romantic, you-are-so-wonderful emotion. Love is a pact to consider the other person’s interests and feelings and needs and find a way to meet them (and being a pact, to trust that the other person is considering your interests and feeling and needs, but trusting enough to fulfill your side of the deal regardless).
“Love was the answer to everything.” That stuff that went awry, the stuff that led to regrets — you know, that stuff — maybe it could have been resolved with a little more love, that is to say, a decision. And the stuff that went right, well, that was because there was a big dollop of love in the mix.
The former Saul of Tarsus wrote a description of love so powerful and real that it is still referenced two millennia after he wrote it:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
Imagine, if you can, a world where that is the foundation of human interaction. If you can, now you understand what Bradbury was trying to say, what the Nazarene was trying to say, and what I am trying to say.
In this season of finger-pointing and smears and tears and fears, I suggest a pause to consider what Bradbury had to say, a moment to consider what Paul wrote to the folks in Corinth, and an inward glance before acting on a first impulse.
Love is the answer to everything. Knowing that, how do we proceed?
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P.S. In case you’re keeping track, this is the 800th consecutive day that I have given you a blog post in this space. You’re welcome.