Last week Roxanne wrote a post titled The Responsibility to Love. I encourage you to follow the link and read it if you haven’t already, Roxanne’s writing is always timely, poignant, and thoughtful. You should also read her post, because I’m not going to recap her words here, only the title. For a week I’ve had those four words running through my head: A Responsibility To Love. The sheer power of that phrase has reverberated deep in my soul and subconscious. What does it mean? What does it mean for me? A Responsibility To Love.
Love is one of those words that fits multiple parts of speech. It can be a thing, a metaphorical place, an emotion, an adverb, and of course, a verb. To Love. I love many people; I love my best friends, my family, my husband. I often have very strong feelings for my first cup of coffee in the morning too, but let’s forget about loving things for now. Love can be stagnant; I will always love my parents. But as with anything, surely it’s better with a little effort. I love my parents much more because I know them as people and individuals; I know them because I talk with them often and communicate. So I don’t just love them as my parents, but as individuals whom I know and respect. But perhaps that is degrees of love, and not responsibility.
What does it mean to have a Responsibility To Love? I think first, it means letting someone know that they are loved. If you love someone, truly deeply love them, and you don’t express that, it’s a little like the tree falling in the forest. Love isn’t something that is meant to be hidden or silenced; it should be shouted from the rooftops. If you love someone, I think you have a responsibility to let them know: initially, often, and frequently.
I also think with Love comes the responsibility of caring for someone. Whether it is taking care of a spouse when they are ill, helping a friend through a breakup, or offering support whenever able, if you love someone you should be, to some extent, responsible for their wellbeing. In a similar vein, I think it is important and necessary to care for the relationship. I have a black thumb myself, but I’ll use the analogy anyway: just as a plant requires water and sunlight to bloom, a relationship requires care and contact to thrive and survive. (Luckily I am a much better friend than I am a gardener).
Finally, on a grander scale, I think A Responsibility To Love means that I have a responsibility to act with love. Not only towards the select group of individuals that I love, but in everything I do. Everyone loves Someone, and in the nature of 6 degrees, if you follow the connections long enough, eventually the someone that a stranger loves will come in contact with someone that I love. Just as I want that person to be treated with kindness, I should treat the strangers I meet with the same. There is nothing wrong and everything right with spreading a little more love in the world. From now on, I’m looking it as my responsibility; a responsibility to love.