Love Easily, Forgive Quickly, Celebrate Everything
Try not to hurt others in the process
I was sitting outside, smoking, thinking up a story about a praying atheist and a line of dialogue in my mind said “Do you really think “God” gives a fuck by what name you call him?”
As soon as those words formed in my mind a gust of insanely hard wind started blowing, showering me in bits of tree debris. Three seconds later it was over and wind still again. And I was sitting there grinning like an idiot because it was such a perfect thing to have happen and this loosely formed character would be shaken to their core by that “sign”. But then, since the character was so loosely defined, I was at a complete loss as to what the sign would mean to them. Agreement? Disagreement? Simply a reminder that a deity is paying attention?
Humans are mammals with an overactive pattern recognition function in their brains. They easily link two unrelated events. A thought about God and a freak wind gust ? Must be a sign. How they interpret those signs depends on their outlook on life. As unlikely as it sounds to me, I am sure somewhere someone has decided that hurricane Michael was God’s punishment for appointing an accused rapist to the supreme court.
I have been thinking about life outlooks a lot in the last couple of months. Specifically how one’s outlook on life relates to love — romantic love as well as platonic love — and to make sense of it, I find myself reaching for the sort of language that leads me back to religion. Faith.
While I was raised Roman Catholic, I never really had faith in God. I clearly remember putting in the effort as a child. My parents didn’t go to church, but they let me do holy communion along with all the other kids in my class. And since I felt I was initiated after that, I strolled to church for Sunday mass on my own accord. When I didn’t feel any different I doubled down. I prayed. I read the bible. I stood in front of a church full of people to narrate the story of Zaccheus. And while I was proud of that performance, faith didn’t take.
These days, pushing forty, often confused about how different my experiences in life seem to be from others, I have started to realize faith did take. I have an abundance of faith — in people. And just like religious faith, it doesn’t seem to be rational. People have disappointed me. Some people have hurt me deeply. It doesn’t matter how shitty some people treat me, my faith hasn’t wavered. In my life I have had to realize my love was better spend somewhere else, but I’ve never felt like my love had been wasted, or that love itself was a waste. On my lowest I doubted my ability to communicate my love, but never my ability to love the people in my life fully and freely. And it never occurred to me to wonder if loving fully was the right thing to do.
So basically what is happening is my overactive pattern recognition brain function is rejecting all signs that loving people is a waste — shitty treatment by shitty people—and instead latches on to all the signs that people are lovable — every random act of kindness — because my outlook on life boils down to love easily, forgive quickly, celebrate everything and try not to hurt others in the process.
(And I’m back to the the beginning of the article and story I was thinking up when I was smoking outside)
“Sorry to break it to you, but that’s God.”
“No, I don’t believe in God. I believe in people, I believe in love.”
“The bible says God is love. Do you really think “God” gives a fuck by what name you call him?”