Photo by Jacob Sapp on Unsplash

We’re Saved By What We Love

Remember who you are and who you are for

This is what I wasn’t brave enough to tell you because the force of your pain scared me when we saw each other last week:

Tell me who and what you love and I’ll show you that it’s the light when all others go out.

When it’s dark here in February and you feel like quitting. When you find yourself starting to envy the people you notice on your way to work. When you feel like maybe it wouldn’t be so hard to just completely change careers because this — what you’re doing now — feels too big and too difficult to do for even one more day.

It feels big and difficult because it is. What you’re doing is where you need to be; where you are is where you’re supposed to be right now. It’s worth what it cost you to be here even if you can’t see that now.

Only work that calls us to this kind of struggle is worth us giving our hearts to it.

I love teaching because it is bigger than me and reminds me to look up at the faces around me. The faces of my colleagues who smile at me when everything feels so bleak. They remind me that I’m not alone.

The faces of my students who frown over their work, who roll their eyes, whose faces break into infectious laughter. They remind me that feelings change, sometimes in seconds.

What feels heavy will lighten. What feels hard will ease. I learn this every year at graduation when I think I can’t bear another goodbye. In the space of our short time together, I have made them my own and loved them.

What we love saves us. Tell me again who you love. Because I notice that’s when your face changes, when your eyes get wet with tears. Who you love pulls you to speak, to show up when you don’t want to. When you’re afraid of “getting in trouble.” But that’s the kind of trouble worth getting into because that, my darling one, is called “advocacy.” Now you know why you have to speak up. It’s because who you love is counting on you to be brave.

What you love is calling you to keep going even though you feel like you’re waist deep in the middle of the big muddy river.

There’s a shock to the depth and a fear of falling under.

But you’re going to make it.

You’re going to make it because what you love pulls you from the other side. This, this is what people mean when they throw around the term “leadership.” Now you know why you’re a leader. Everyone around you needs you to keep going because you give them hope.

I couldn’t find the words to say this so I just hugged you. I’m hugging you still and cheering you on. You’re a warrior. I believe in you — those who you love believe in you.

Be still. Listen.

Remember who you are and who you are for.

They’re calling your name.