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To Love the Hell Out of the World

To love the hell out of the world means to love it extravagantly, wastefully, with an overpouring abandon and fervor that sometimes surprises even yourself. That love flows out of you, sometimes slow and steady, sometimes in a torrent, sometimes filled with joy, sometimes with fierceness, or anger, or a heartbreaking pain that makes you say, "No, no, I can't take this anymore. I can't do anymore. It's too much ... too much."

But it's too late. You've opened up your own heart, your own mind, body, and strength, and yes, it is too much. But there's also so much love that comes crashing down on you, gifts from the Heavens in the form of the smiles and cares from others, a giggle burbling up from a toddler's fat little belly, the soft, sweet smell of star jasmine catching you unaware, not knowing where it came from ... but it's here. And you're here. And just to live, just to exist, swells your heart with enough gratitude and love that you must release it or burst. And so you love, love the hell out of the world again.

Without scale, without ratio, without carefully allotting how much you will give versus how much you will receive. You love because you must. And it's the air you breathe in, the water you swim in, it's the rushing in and out of creativity, of self-expression; it's seeing the amazing, amazing, amazing gifts of the people all around you. It is loving with awe, with reverence and irreverence, seeing the miracle in a lump of dirt, in a shy hello, in forgiveness, in standing in the shadow and watching the joy someone else experiences without you, and yet feeling connected through time and space with all who have been and all who are to be.

To love the hell out of the world means to see with our hearts, fragile and unprotected. To accept that life is shattering and excruciating. To see the hell in a world, in a group, in a person, in a tear. To know that it is the experience of both the oppressor and the oppressed, as we are both. To wade in to it, armored for battle but leaving our heart completely exposed because that is what we follow, it is our night goggles in a dark world of smoke, falling beams, and faint cries from over ... there.

We love emphatically, actively, with our hands and feet; pushing the wreckage aside, reaching down, stretching until we fear our arms can go no further, but they do, we touch fingers with others, then grab on for dear life, pulling them out to safety, then going back in to remove the hell itself, before it traps someone else. We round a corner only to find hands waiting for us, to pull us  to safety, to warmth, for we are both the savior and the saved.

The hell is all around, and we work, in great passionate swoops and in slow, plodding routines, to put that extravagant love into action and remove all the bits of it from the world. Misery, ill health, disease, viciousness of greed in the face of want, voices that shout hate or whisper meanness, soul-eating addiction, humiliation, despair, injustice that curls up nastily, poisoning the spirit of giver and receiver ... we do not flee. Bone-chillingly afraid we may be, but we step forward. We are the only form love will take and the work is ours to do.

Our job, our mission, is to take all of that love, all that overflowing, passionate, undying agape and train it on the hell that exists in this world.

We are Unitarian Universalists -- from one source, to one destiny -- here to love the hell out of the world.


  1. Greetings from a fellow Unitarian minister across the pond in Cambridge, UK. I very much enjoyed this post earlier in the year and have just found a way to direct folk to it from my own blog in a way I hope you will enjoy (link below). But the reason for posting this comment is, primarily to say thank you for your words and to wish you a good, fruitful and happy New Year.
    Love the hell out of this world — "Make someone happy, make just one, someone happy"

  2. I want you to know that I came here today needing a reminder that UUs are going to be able to continue to love the hell out of the world even when we're scared and hurting and sad... This lifted me. THANK YOU. Blessings to you.


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