( A Love Letter )
By Elizabeth Perlman
“When people try to bury you, remind yourself you are a seed.”
“How is this happening?” the texts kept streaming in. Over the course of the last six hours, I have stomped the ground, pounded the bar, scratched at my face, gaped at the TV, and walked through Oakland screaming “NOOOOO!”
I have also cried. I cried when I talked to my sister, who may lose her health insurance to pay for the medicine she needs to keep her alive. I cried when I saw the faces of little girls and women, all looking as shocked and defeated as I felt. I cried when I thought of waking up to a world where Voldemort has (once again, damn it!) seized the Ministry of Magic.
Then, just when I thought I couldn’t rage loud enough, I was brought back to center by the young man standing beside me, the man watching me shout at the television. He told me he is a musician. His name was Luis.
“There is nothing stronger than love,” he reminded me. “I’m not going to let anyone dictate how I feel about myself or my life or my world. I carry a light inside me and nothing can touch that or change that or limit that. I am love. We are all love.”
Again, I cried. But this time I felt my heart unclench. It reminded me that the sun isn’t gone. It’s just hiding behind the other side of the world. I write this now, selfishly, for own sake, because I need to galvanize myself, because I need to find the words that will bring me back to light, because I need to write about the revolution that we are going to lead together, the revolution that is love.
In this moment, it appears that fear has won. The darkness feels overwhelming. And yet, it is only in darkness that the light can know its strength. Darkness is limited and ends by destroying itself. But love is indestructible, infinite, and infinitely generative. It is creation itself. Love is the manifesting energy of the universe, the truth of all things, the only truth. “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.”
Like all dictators, Voldemorte has risen to power on a wave of hatred and fear. But there is an antidote, and it is inside us, inside every single one of us.
We only hate because we hurt and we only fear because the love is hidden. But the bigger truth is that love never leaves us. Love is what beats our hearts and fills our lungs and blinks our eyes. Love is what grows the seed into a tree, the baby into a child, the river into sculpted canyons. Love is who we are and what we need and why we’re here. Love is forever and always present. But sometimes—not unlike our spinning planet, at the end of a very long day—we turn away from love. Sometimes we are too scared or wounded or angry to believe in love at all. And so we close our eyes and slip down into the darkness. But even there, even in the darkness, love remains. Even at the bottom of the darkest pit, there is still an angel, waiting to be found. We say the love isn’t there, but we forget that it is we who have closed our eyes.
Love melts fear. Love heals hate. Love is waiting for us to see it.
There is an old parable about how the gods were looking for a place to hide themselves among humans, and finally decided to hide in the center of every human heart…because they knew it would be the last place we’d ever think to look.
To love another—truly, deeply, unconditionally—we must first love ourselves. But how does one learn to love themselves, when nothing in our violent, manic culture has ever prepared us for it? The human heart beats so quietly, and we are afraid of what’s inside.
Despite a million, billion fears, the irony is that we have nothing to fear, because all we are is love. Love is in our pores, in our bones, in our DNA, all the way back. If you don’t believe me, pick up a pen and write something. Then write something else. And keep writing. It doesn’t matter that you don’t know what you’re doing. It doesn’t matter that you say you “can’t.” It doesn’t matter that you think you have nothing to say. Put your pen on paper and move your hand and see what comes out.
Start with the words “This is what I need to say to you…” Start with the words “what I really want …” Start with the words “what really scares me… ” Start with the words “my dearest hope… ” Start with the words “what I want to stand for…”
What do you want to stand for?
That’s the big question right now—because every heart is its own nation, its own president, its own creator, its own universe. Every open heart is its own revolution.
Voltemort couldn’t kill Harry Potter, because love is stronger than death and “love never ends.” And so our challenge now is to stand together, to stand together like never before, to love like never before, to hold hands in the center of the darkness and feel our feet grounded in the center of earth and BE the love that can’t be lost, the love that can’t be hidden or imprisoned or deported or destroyed. We must be the love we seek—and spread it like the sun.
“The day will come,” wrote Teilhard de Chardin, “when after harnessing the ether, the winds, the tides, gravitation, we shall harness for God the energies of love. And, on that day, for the second time in the history of the world, we will have discovered fire.”