Agape for All

Spiritual Smart Aleck

213

Agape (ä-̀gä-pā) n [LL, fr. Gk., agapē, lit., love] (1607) 1: LOVE FEAST 2. LOVE
– Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary

First thing I saw out the bedroom window this morning was a lot of yellow leaves on the big leaf maple tree. Autumn. Kind of ironic, considering what a crappy year 2020 has been, that I’m not in a hurry to see it go.

Name your poison: the rise of white supremacists and the further desecration and destruction of America, climate change, wildfires destroying homes and killing people, the smoke from the fires, Covid-19 (remember that?), joblessness, homelessness, poverty and hunger.

Still, the Black Lives Matter movement gives me hope. Perhaps sanity will take hold, after all. I believe that most people in this “Christian” nation would like to see Jesus’ command followed: love your neighbor as yourself.

A lot of people do love their neighbors as they love themselves and the problem is that they hate themselves. I always want to add a coda to that commandment: first, love and accept yourself. Be kind to yourself. Give yourself a little agape, or unconditional love.

Now, when our country’s founders put all their high-falutin’ ideals into writing, they meant freedom and equality for white men who owned property – which they all were.

I’m sorry, white guys. I know that you are not all heartless corporate billionaires. I married a white guy, gave birth to two white guys, and I like a lot of white guys, and I realize that our society imposes an extra burden on white guys for being white guys these days, unless you are a filthy rich white guy, and then everything is business as usual.

But I digress.

Unfortunately, the inspiring language of the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, for example, has given uppity ideas to a lot of people for whom it was never meant. You know, black people, women, indigenous people, Latinos, Asians, all people of color. Not to mention the Irish and Italians in their times.

We were taught those lofty ideals, those principles upon which our country was founded, and told we lived in the land of the free, and it was the best gosh darned country in the whole world.

We believed what we were taught.

Benjamin Franklin said that our country is a republic if we can keep it. I feel like we are losing, or have lost, our grip. So what can we do?

I strongly encourage you to vote. When you get your ballot for the November election, fill it out, sign the envelope, and either mail it (if we still have a post office) or take your signed ballot up to the drop box at the library and pop it in. Be counted. You matter. Your vote matters.

Then we shall see how it goes.

It is also past time to think about the unthinkable happening and make plans. We have been preparing for the Big One for years, now we need to prepare for wildfire. Do you have water, food, blankets, etc.? Medical supplies? A “go bag?” It is time to do whatever you can to protect yourself and your family.

You know that however the election turns out, we are in for a hard time. If Biden wins, there will be violent resistance from Trump and his supporters. If Trump wins – well, we know what that is like.

Our work is cut out for us. Us and the whole wide world. Our problems ebb and flow in their intensity and demands for our attention. Last week I was worried about a shooting war getting traction. This week I’m worried about the smoke-filled air and the people who have lost everything to fires, even their lives.

And, of course, I worry about Covid-19, the current continuo to all our lives’ music.
I hope that the foes of equality do not feel compelled to go to a full-blown civil war to preserve racism. Because ultimately this is the clash between people who want to have their human dignity respected, and people who would rather die than see that happen.

As far as I can see, there is no gospel, no doctrine, no philosophy of love and treating others as we wish to be treated ourselves, that has not been screwed up by human beings. There seems to be a primal need for war, and power, and wealth, which explains world history as well as the NFL to me.

My plan is, as best I can, to be kind to others and myself. I would like to see agape for all. Probably not going to happen, but I must work for it as if it will.

A little common sense would not come amiss, either.