It's that time of year again. I'm crocheting tiny hearts out of red thread, chaining them together, sending them out in the mail. My own heart garlands are hanging in my kitchen windows, and a few other hearts from friends are hanging here and there around the house, reminding me how much love there is at home and abroad.
Yet I can't ignore the lack of love I see lurking around so many corners. Like all families, we have our share of drama and dirty laundry. There is betrayal, gossip, insensitivity, disloyalty, intolerance, jealousy, spite, unmet expectations, bickering, silence. All is well under my little roof, but under the bigger roof of our collective family, things are not as they should be. And like so many other families, nobody wants to talk about it. I don't want to talk about it either, but I can't stop thinking about it.
Today, I'm calling upon a line from a sermon I heard several years ago:
"The truth is simple, but not simplistic."
I know the pastor was speaking about Jesus and the ultimate sacrifice when he spoke these words, but I took his message and applied it to my most sacred truth: family.
At the time, I was struggling with my choice to stay at home with my children. Most of my mom friends worked outside of the home. They had offices, business cards, nannies, hyphenated names followed by a string of letters and punctuation marks. I had a preschooler, a toddler, and a station wagon. My life was simple, and I was afraid it made me simple, and not in a good way.
The pastor's words put everything into perspective for me. Yes, my truth was simple, yes I had made the simple choice to stay at home, but my life, my decision, was not simplistic. My decision was born out of love.
Love is simple, but far from simplistic. To borrow an all too popular Facebook phrase (at least among my family), "It's complicated". And we complicate it even more when we forget that:
It is simpler to love than to hate.
It is simpler to be honest than to lie.
It is simpler to smile and wave than to intentionally ignore.
It is simpler to remain friends than to unfriend.
It is simpler to be loyal than to go behind one's back.
It is simpler to forgive than to hold a grudge.
It is simpler to show compassion than to be disappointed in someone.
It is simpler to say nothing than to gossip.
Yet none of these actions are simplistic. They require strength and a whole lot of love. Today, I'm summoning both in large amounts. With my tiny crochet hook and thin red thread, I'm creating a stockpile of handmade love, and hoping it works. Perhaps love - and life - is as simple as we make it.