Pastoral Care and Connections

“Here is a mystery: If sweeping through the door of my heart there moves continually a genuine love for you, it bypasses all your hate and all your indifference and gets through to you at your center. You are powerless to do anything about it. You may keep alive in devious ways the fires of your bitter heart, but they cannot get through to me. Underneath the surface of all the tension, something else is at work. It is utterly impossible for you to keep another from loving you.”

Rev. Howard Thurman, 1899 – 1981

I’m all about LOVE! Agape love, as the Greeks taught, the steadfast love, enduring through time and struggles. Agape can be said to be the foundation of Universalism, a theology of universal salvation for all. THIS I can sell! I can preach this from the highest inaccessible peaks, sing into the deep caverns of the earth’s hidden mantle and let it sweep across the oceans of relief.

Philia, affection between friends, grounds us when the days are too long and the air too thick with stubborn resistance to our tasks. Philia is the phone call, email, or text just checking in without expectation. I can point to the beers shared, and the late-night dancing among the stars. Dear, dear friends. I am so lonely without you.

Storgé, that which binds us to family, by our side, ancestors and descendants, stretches us thin while holding us to a foundation that cannot be broken. Storgé expects more from us than we want to give, hides in our DNA with gifts of strength, and scrambles our genes with screams of anger, fear, and fierceness that WILL NOT let go. Dear family, confused as we all are, our mutual love is bound with hard bones of realness.

And then there is éros, oh great friend and foe of the heart. It creates joyous chaos, chemicals tumbling around in our brains, gets out of my head, and come back quick. Oh, love, sweet romantic love, don’t let this Hallmark, sweet-flowered holiday take over, but the chocolates, dark please, are ok.

Sigh: Sweet, courageous, delicate, enduring, resilient love. Be mine, yours, and ours. Let the love rain down on all of us. We cannot hide from its persistent power. Let our resistance dissolve into puddles of grateful acceptance.

With Love in abundance, Rev. Kate

A Valentine’s Gift from some incredible artists, some UU’s in D.C.