Love at the Intersection
Standing for Humanity
Several weeks ago I happily agreed to create a poster and join a friend in a stand for love at the main intersection in our community. Every Wednesday from 5 pm to 6 pm we show up, hold our signs, wave, smile, and sometimes offer directions for visitors who have gotten lost. It’s an hour for acts of kindness.
Many people smile and wave from inside their vehicles. Some cheer and give us “thumbs up” and honk their horns. Some stare straight ahead, unsmiling, and drive by. Many people talking on their phones offer a finger wiggle. Still others look perplexed as they attempt to process our signs, which simply say: “Love,” “Spread Love,” “Radiate Love/Free Hugs,” “Love Heals,” “Love our World.” and “Choose Love.”
Visitors and neighbors walking through the intersection have taken our picture with their phones. Some have asked us what organization or church we are with and we reply, “none.” One man got tears in his eyes when my friend replied; “We are standing for love, as simple as that.” He asked her if he could hug her. She gave him a hug.
Two young teenage boys hopped off their bikes and declared, “Yes, I want a free hug!” We hugged them and then they quickly broke free and jumped back on their bikes and pedaled away.
When asked curious questions of “why” we continue to say, “We’re standing for love.”
A couple weeks ago a husband and wife surrounded by their children approached us with fierce agendas and angry questions. The wife kept undulating her body back and forth as she fired her repeated question at me. I noticed how her saliva gathered in the corner of her mouth. She began this encounter by sharply declaring to me, “There is no love in the world!” I quietly held space and agreed with her that love isn’t stealing, that love isn’t about violating healthy boundaries, that Jesus Christ definitely poured forth words of unconditional love when others spat on him and nails pierced his hands. Her body finally ceased to invade my private space and she appeared a tiny bit calmer.
“Did you feel heard?” I asked.
She turned and began walking away with her children. Barely turning back she declared, “Yes. I felt heard.”
This week amongst the costumed families, little ones, and teenagers walking to the shops annual trick or treat for Halloween, we had a delightful time interacting with many people. Oooing and ahhing over costumes was such a joy. We reveled in those who loved sharing about how they designed their costume and made certain we noticed all their accessories.
We commented to each other that we hadn’t had one rude gesture from anyone in a vehicle in these weeks. And, of course, it happened within minutes of us saying this to each other. I smiled and waved at a man driving by and he flipped the middle finger and dragged it over his head as he drove by to make certain we saw it the entire time. And frankly, I remember all the times I internally held a middle finger up towards love, or what I thought was love, or for anyone who seemed “that happy.” A person with a heart buried in pain, and a mind lost in some mixture of poisonous righteousness, self-loathing, worthlessness, victimhood, and powerlessness (perceived or real) will often behave in less than civil ways towards others.
A couple hours later I told my son about this moment and his reply really touched me. “Mom, he needed your smile and love the most!” I knew he had spoken a profound truth.
Maybe you aren’t inspired to stand with a “love” sign on a street corner, but know that your presence, your simple, kind acts of love and compassion matter in our world. For every act of unkindness, hatred, or violence, I know in my soul that there are millions of compassionate and caring moments being exchanged among people on this globe hurling through space in our cosmos.
During your dash of time between that birth date and that ever looming death date, I encourage you to be courageous for kindness, for self-love, for self-worth, for a more peaceful inner world, to heal your heart, to begin to gently remove all the barriers you may have created to protect your tender, soft, beautiful heart, and to find ways to create a life you love living.
We have a flexible rib cage rather than a thick skull to protect this life-giving organ. There’s movement in that most important muscle pulsing and sending oxygen to our cells and an energy vibration out into the world. As best you can fill your heart with gratitude and flow through all other energies just like circulating blood. Rather than be imprisoned in a cage of fears, free your heart to embrace the heartbreak and the joy of being alive together at this intersection of our humanity and our grace.