[keep up with allison’s blog: http://allisonswanderings.blogspot.com/]
I recently heard a song by The Lumineers called “Stubborn Love.” The song as a whole is about a romantic relationship, but there’s one line that jumped out at me and got the wheels turning, so to speak.
The opposite of love’s indifference.
The opposite of love isn’t hate, but indifference. Not an entirely new idea, I don’t think, but one that is too often overlooked. Most people probably/hopefully realize we should avoid living lives full of hate. But it’s a lot harder to avoid indifference.
If we are called to love one another and to care for one another, who can justify turning a blind eye to those in need? I don’t just mean our homeless brothers and sisters or refugees or New Orleanians trying to come home after the storm. Of course those people are all included, but what about the friend that has a sick family member, or the kid whose parents are going through a divorce, or that guy at work who just looks kind of sad sometimes? Sure, different people need different kinds of love and support depending on their personalities. Not everybody wants to sit down with you and spill their proverbial guts. Maybe a smile in their direction is enough. Maybe saying good morning to the people you pass on your walk to work is enough. The point is that even if you’re not speaking or acting negatively towards someone, it doesn’t automatically mean you’re loving them as much as you could be. Whatever form our love for one another takes, I think we should be stubbornly consistent in sharing it. But that is quite the task, if all it takes to fail is indifference.
I can genuinely say that I wouldn’t trade this year for anything, but there have definitely been (and are still) times when I have felt indifferent towards certain people or situations. I mean, indifference seems pretty neutral, right? Certainly not an ideal frame of mind, but not particularly detrimental towards anybody? At least that’s what I figured. Maybe that’s why that particular line in this song stuck out so much. If to be indifferent is to be unloving, that’s an attitude I’d really like to avoid.
This past weekend several roommates and I went to an event celebrating Project Homecoming‘s fifth anniversary. In addition to serving up a pot of gumbo that seemed big enough for me to sit in, part of the evening included some words about the the rebuilding organization’s history so far. Some of those words came from a woman who was one of the first five homeowners to benefit from Project Homecoming’s post-Katrina rebuilding work. After enthusiastically expressing her thanks, she continued: “This is what God wants from us, ya know? To love each other and take care of each other.”
It’s as simple and as difficult as that, friends.
PS – Here’s the song, for those who are interested. These guys (and gal) have some good stuff goin’ on.