I do not like crumbs in the bed...My nine-year-old daughter, Mary, organized a surprise movie night for me. She decorated my room with movie theater candy, creative homemade reserved seat signs, popcorn, and soda with fancy straws. She was so excited to unveil her surprise. She grabbed the remote and said, "Okay, Mom, let's pick a movie!"She invited me to sit on my bed, with her hand full of popcorn to watch the movie. I could see the crumbs tumbling down into the bed before the movie even began. And the sight...
Cringe.I had to make a choice.I decided to go with love, instead of focusing on the kernels dropping on the sheets.While this small event may be just a fleeting memory in my family history, it inspired me to think about the space between discomfort and a connection to something greater. In order to live in a community, sometimes I have had to take up my discomfort and recognize the opportunity to transform it into love and understanding.Think about...The single mom who has more children than she can afford, and you don't like that she's pregnant with another. Go with love.The recovering addict who seems to have only curse words in his vocabulary, and you don't like that he cusses in church. Go with love.The felon who is covered in tattoos, and you don't like that he lives with a woman he's not married to. Go with love.The stinky guy who always wants to give you a hug at the community meal, and you don't like that he has poor hygiene. Go with love.Sometimes we miss opportunities to create moments of genuine connection, because we can't sit with a certain level of discomfort within our beliefs. We miss experiences that we never forget. We miss times that teach us more about ourselves than others.When we go with love, it can be hard. It can mean navigating situations that go against our norm, and forgoing control and comfort.Our movie night was wonderful. We watched Pete's Dragon, one of my favorite movies as a child. I didn't say anything about the crumbs in the bed, but instead I focused on the important stuff, and I chose love.
What does it really mean to choose love? Love is courage, not comfort.Love is a decision, not a reaction.Love is selfless, not selfish.Love is connection.
by Heather Cunningham — to learn more about Heather’s work, please visit thinktank-inc.org