After reading Galen Guengerich's contention that "gratitude should be the center of Unitarian Universalist theology" in UU World, I have been mulling over thoughts of love and gratitude.
Now, I am a big fan of gratitude. Before All Of This, I was in the gratitude club. Not only did I worship gratitude, I felt grateful that I felt gratitude. I knew it made my life better, that I was able to view life through Grat's prism. Nightly, my family goes around the table, saying one thing each person is grateful for that day.
But, now, I believe that gratitude is, as UU Momma writes, "a byproduct as well as a means to an end." I think that gratitude is a result; love is a source.
I thought that I would always be able to find gratitude. But then I learned that life can turn so dark, one can become so lost, that there is no gratitude.
But when there was no gratitude, there was still love.
That very night that Little Warrior was admitted to the pediatric oncology floor, I turned to the Husband and said, "WE -- the you and me that are 'We' -- we will get through this."
As soon as we passed on our news, friends were pulling love all around us. They did research, they said prayers, they made casseroles. They brought us bags filled with comfy clothing, food, magazines. They hugged us. They wept with us.
I am grateful for them. I am grateful for the marvelous doctors who never said, "Oh, I couldn't do pediatric oncology/surgery, it would be too devasting." I am grateful for the scientists, the nurses, the Candlelighters who paid for my parking. I am utterly grateful that my baby is here today.
But when I felt no gratitude, I still felt love. Both from within me and from the outside, I felt love.
UU Soul said it so eloquently, "As much as I love gratitude, I have a problem with UUs relinquishing love to Christians."
Another little tradition that my family has is in our goodbyes. We say, "May the Spirit of Love go with you." The other person answers, "And with you."
Recently, I have begun taking this outside my family. I say it to my friends when we part, I say it to fellow congregants. I don't think that 'love' is a word we hear enough.
May the Spirit of Love go with you.