Love, it sits in the chest,
at least at the start.
It’s what makes our heart beat again after being broken,
and our lungs breathe again after being closed off in the dark for far too long.

For some, it came in the form of our grandfather’s eyes
which saw us as carriers of something bigger and more precious
and older
than our little bodies disclosed.
For others, it arrived as we pressed hard
against our mothers’ warm skin
and heard a speechless whisper say
we can always come home.

We recognize love as the thing that allowed us to finally remove our masks,
or that which said I don’t want you to take it off, until you are ready.
We were taught love by those who arrived in the midst of our fear
and shook as we shook, instead of simply trying to make our trembling stop.

But here is the secret. The inevitable awakening.
The wonder that each of our lives is meant to reveal.
Love doesn’t just love us;
It asks us to become it.

That’s why those metaphors of comforting quilts
which wrap us in their warmth will never do.
True love is always a thunderstorm
that cracks us clean open
so the echoes of other breaking hearts
can make their way in.

Yes, it wants us to be whole and strong.
But love’s deepest longing is that we will use that strength
to tear down the structures that leave others bloodied and bruised.
We must always remember what Selma’s prophet of peace regularly preached:
Love and power are always rightly wed.

And maybe this is where the second secret comes loose.
As I shake the walls to let others free,
I learn that the ones I’ve liberated include me.

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