When completing a profile for Facebook, one section says “Religious views:” I appreciate that they left it open ended — not a drop-down menu — so you can fill it in any way that you want. I automatically left it blank and just skipped ahead.
For some reason in the last few days I’ve been thinking about it. Really the only thing that I can say is that I believe in love. “Religious views: I believe in love.” I resisted putting that in because it sounds so hokey and romantic. It sounds girly. It sounds silly, insipid, naive.
Well…OK. Truly I don’t know how it sounds. That’s just what I think it might sound like. And that projected perception is in conflict with my (self-)image of being sharp, intellectual, a little tough, strong. This is an image which arises naturally out of both my self-reliance and my intellect. I am associated with dry wit, complicated texts, aggressive sports, high risk. Then again, that’s a self-image which I think is incomplete, which I think helps to cut me off from others a little, which leads to isolation.
The truth is that I am all that and am still soft and sparkly inside. I hold on dearly to memories of romantic things I’ve done for others or which have been done for me — and that I find it confusing that I frequently date people who are not romantic, or are not romantic in the quirky artistic way that I really adore. I dream of things like returning from a hard day climbing a multipitch route to find the path home lined with jars of fireflies and an invitation to release them back into the night together. And I am not ashamed that people might think that I might like that.
And the other truth is that the love I believe in is not romantic love. When it comes to a religious belief, I mean that I believe that if we all focused on love, if we all just thought about how to best express love for each other, then the world would be a happier place. I believe in community, connections, a foundation based on “we” not “I.” If we could think about loving without owning, a love that doesn’t have the counterbalance of hate or fear or jealousy, a love that was just giving and trusting, then I believe that all good things would follow out of that. It’s not easy to do. You have to believe that there’s enough love to go around. And I do believe in that.