Thursday, December 25, 2008

Love, love, love

Today, Christmas Day, is a welcome holiday here in the United States. For many, it is a day to pause and consider the birth of Christ and its meaning in their lives. For others, it is simply a day off from work and fun time with family. For all of us, it is a welcome relief from the constant hammering of the retailers of the world to garner at least some of the comparatively few dollars spent during the gift-giving season.

For me, it is a good day to consider the phrase, "Peace on Earth, and good will to all."

My heart tells me we are entering a new world, one where consideration and compassion is the norm, not some saintly act; one where the very thought of hating anyone is much more hurtful than any slap in the face; one where all of us, every one, comes to know that, truly, we are all one.

My head tells me that my heart is full of wishful thinking, that the planet we live on is liable to cough us all up, so to speak, and be rid of this infestation known as mankind before we reach the global peace my heart sees coming.

What is to be made of a supposedly intelligent species which does crazy stuff? Example: it is in the name of our various religions that we have killed each other at a distressing rate for millennia. Sure, we kill each other for other reasons, as well, but by far the majority of organized killing in our ugly history came in the name of religion. Don't you think it is time for us to stop believing in the unspoken theory this espouses: "The murdering will continue until you come to believe in world peace?"

To me, the fault clearly lies in what we do with the words of our great spiritual leaders after they are gone. We build ceremony, declare creeds built by men on the backs of much simpler, more direct meaning of the prophet. We create hierarchies of those in charge inhabited sometimes by men of good will, and often by greedy, power-hungry men. We even allow ourselves to be called to war by these people.

It is this nature of organized religion which finally convinced me to turn away and become much less concerned with doctrine, and more about Love.

Love leads one to all sorts of happy endings, and it is the path I have chosen to follow evermore. It is the juice of life, in fact the very essence of what brings breath to our beings. Love is Life, it is as simple as that.

Love makes it easy to open one's arms to anyone, anywhere, at any moment. I don't mean holding out one arm while keeping the other hand on the hilt of your sword. No. Open arms, completely vulnerable, and therefore irresistible.

Melissa Etheridge is a singer/songwriter who has created beautiful music for decades, and for much of that time she has been open about being a lesbian. She is an impassioned supporter of equal rights for all, and for her own community of LGBT folks in particular.

This morning, I read an essay she wrote (thanks to my beautiful wife, Julia, for pointing it out to me) in which she describes her own experience with Pastor Rick Warren. For those of you who have missed the controversy surrounding Warren, welcome back to the planet. Warren was selected by Barack Obama to deliver the invocation at his inauguration next month. Warren has made some really badly worded statements about his own beliefs which have caused a storm of protest from the gay community--how dare Obama pick this hater to invoke God at the inauguration?

Not surprisingly, Melissa Etheridge had these same feelings about the Obama decision until she found herself set to appear at a Muslim leadership council at which the keynote speaker was...Rick Warren. Please read what Ms Etheridge has to say about her encounter.

I mention this example only because it is a wonderful illustration of the fallacy of the preconceived notion. If you have already decided what you believe about someone before you have the chance to meet them, what does that say about you? I don't care if you are gay or straight, fundamentalist of whatever bent or hugely progressive in your beliefs. What does it say about you if you cannot drop the prejudices and meet someone--anyone--with your own eyes clear and your arms open?

Love demands of us that we be open conduits. We are to accept Love as our own Life-giving flow, and we are to deliver that Love to the whole of the universe. All the mistakes we are making are all various means by which we block the flow of Love. It makes us ill, it causes really bad decisions, and it prevents us from opening our arms wide. If we, instead, simply allow Love to flow in, flow out, in and out, we become the amazing beings we are here to recall.

We are not here to learn about the rise and fall of various civilizations, to study how wars are fought, or to glory in the power of our own country. That's not to say those are not valid pursuits, but they are not central to our being here.

We are here to remember who we are. We are individuations of God in Earth-suits.

As more and more people remember this, we, as all of humankind together, grow closer to the image of Earth and man in cooperation with her which my heart holds so I don't forget.

Peace on Earth. Why not? Let it begin in your home, this very day. Let it spread to the neighbors with whom you seldom speak. Let it become part of you. Learn to shine the light you have become on others who need to see. Let it influence your decisions every day, every hour, every breath.

This message is what prompted me to write here for the first time in weeks. I know Love is the way, peace is the answer, and joy is where we are all headed. I'll see you on the journey, my friends!


storyteller said...

Amen to all you've shared here (and thanks for the link ... the piece is well-worth reading). I'm reminded that 'diversity' is a good thing ... that it need not be 'divisive' once we hold love in our hearts as Christ so eloquently taught. A Course in Miracles teaches that LOVE is the answer to every question ... and it's our understanding of love that grows as we live with our hearts open with faith. Thank you and Merry Christmas. May the joy of the season keep our heads and hearts on speaking terms throughout the new year.
Hugs and blessings,

Rick Hamrick said...

Thanks so much for your affirming note, storyteller!

Diversity is a lesson in acceptance. I'm very happy my kids grew up in an area where diversity was not unusual, but the common, everyday experience.

Indeed--if we can be at peace with ourselves, it certainly will facilitate the growing joy and Love throughout the planet.

Lynilu said...

Rick, this is about the most meaningful post I've read in a long, long time. Between your words and Melissa's, I'm both thrilled and humbled. To the point of tears.

I believe deeply in equal rights and in peace; those concepts cannot be separated. I've seen a few interviews with Melissa recently, and I have to say that if all of us had the open heart and the willingness to put aside the differences as she does, our world would be so different, so much better.

We will all make mistakes. We will all have bad moments, angry or insecure or hateful or (fill in the blank). We have to get past that and simply do the best we can PERSONALLY. Not in judgment of others, but PERSONALLY. Only then....

Thank you Rick. Reading this was a wonderful experience.I'm very glad that I found your blog.

Julie said...

Its funny how we can always see just one side, isn't it? Our Pres elect promised he would listen, and this is what he is doing. While I might certainly take issue if Rick Warren is chosen to make policy changes under the administration, I love that Obama is keeping a promise to us.

Rick Hamrick said...

Lynilu--I'll be honest: I had tears in my eyes as I read your comment. It is really that important, isn't it? It is crucial that we, people who care about humanity--and that's all of us, I pray--get this.

We can all learn to seek the light inside one another. We must.

Thank you so much, Lynilu!

Rick Hamrick said...

Jules--you nailed it!

The man is doing exactly what he promised, and I see it as a track record he is beginning to set, where he does what he promises, and let the pundits and screamers pund and scream.

When you do what you say you will do, no amount of discouragement can slow you.

I'm grateful to hear from you, my friend!

Olivia said...

I too really enjoyed your post and the article by Melissa as well. When I'd initially heard about the choice of Rick Warren by Obama, I was very pleased, because he indeed was doing as he promised, uniting our country. Although he and Rick Warren will not agree on many things, the people who did not vote for him have many things in common with Rick Warren. This will bring us together and allow many of us, not just Melissa, to follow in her wonderful example and reevaluate how we view each other. Much love, O

Rick Hamrick said...


It is true that anyone can be a polarizing force, as it is up to those claiming to have been polarized to either be distanced or not.

Warren is unique in that he has thoroughly infuriated the more-fundamentalist folks, while also raising the ire of the LGBT community. He is a guy in the middle with people mad at him on both sides.

By choosing him, Obama shines a light on his promise to bring us together, and I applaud the pick.

Truly, we need to learn to disagree without being disagreeable.

Daisy said...

Very touching post.


Rick Hamrick said...

Thanks, Daisy!

I appreciate you taking the time to drop me this note. Please stop back again!

Angela said...

This is beautiful, Rick. I couldn't agree more. May the new year bring you much of the love of which you speak.

Betty said...

Thank you for this beautifully written post which I found from a link on Lynilu's blog. The fallacy of the preconceived notion is something I needed to read, especially on this first day of the new year.


Rick Hamrick said...

Betty, I am happy you found this to be a helpful message.

Thanks so much for your kind comment!

Beverly Keaton Smith said...

all we need is Love, Love....Love is all we need....Happy New Year Rick!!

Rick Hamrick said...

Happy Fresh Start to you, too, Bev!

Thanks for stopping by.

Anonymous said...


I just finished reading this beautiful post and I am filled with love, love, love. You are spot on, my friend! Will write a lengthier post later on today, but just wanted to let you know in THIS moment how moved I am to read your words.


Rick Hamrick said...


Thanks for visiting, and I'm happy to know you enjoyed this one. Love is easy to enjoy, which makes it hard to understand why people can be so resistant to it.

Great to see you here!