Updated: Jul 22, 2021
Years ago, I taught a political science course at a local college, and the main question which emerged during the semester was, “What is true power, in the political sphere?” And, really, one could posit this question about any sphere in life.
The answer distilled down to a simple, one word response - love. Not love in that Hallmark-y, facile sense, (Nothing against Hallmark here! Some of those cards are lovely. 😊) but that power which unites, which contains so many gorgeous and profound attributes such as empathy, generosity and compassion. It is a power that brings together, that sees beyond division, that ignites that inner fire that seeks to understand and care. It is a power that is fearless.
During that semester, Pope John Paul left this world. I remember watching the funeral on TV, and how dignitaries from the world over - including those who might have enmity toward others there present in that august and momentous gathering - overcame this possible enmity and attended. It was a beautiful sight.
There is something in us that loves this. Finally, at the end of the day, we love that which unites. We love principles that draw out the best in us. That is why those who we revere, those that history holds up as worthy of emulation and celebration, are the fearless ones whose sails were filled with the winds of love; such as Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Gandhi and Mandela. For instance, with Mandela we see a man who befriended his prison guards, after many grueling years as a prisoner, and brought his supposed “enemies” into his administration when he ascended to the presidency. We see a man who did not ascribe to vindictiveness and winning at all costs but to sowing seeds of friendship and healing enmity. We see a human being who brought great light to this world.
This is love in action. This is true leadership.
At the end of the day, we don’t remember the squabbles of the day. We don’t remember vindictiveness. We don’t remember pettiness. These are relegated to the dustbin of history.
We remember those that exemplify that force that moves us and this entire universe. We remember those that exemplify that power which, in the final analysis, always has the upper hand. We remember those who exemplify that power in all its gorgeous facets. We remember those who remind us of what we are all capable of-that trajectory that gives the upper hand to our better angels, to our innate light.
We remember the greatest power of all. We remember love.
June 30, 2020