Love Your Enemy
March 21st, 2018
By Lissa Rankin
Guest writer for Wake Up World
So much of what I’ve been writing about — especially since the election times of 2016 and the aftermath of what has followed in our political climate, the #MeToo movement, and many other divisive issues — has focused on dissolving the story of separation and bringing us back together in love; not a “spiritual bypassing” kind of fake love, but the real love that comes when you’re brave enough to ask “What’s it like to be you?” and really care about the answer, generously listening in a way that opens your heart and evokes genuine compassion.
I am an empath, so when we as a culture are so divided, I feel it in my own body, as if my physical body is being pulled apart. I’m learning to have better psychic boundaries so I don’t have to feel so deeply the pain that does not belong to my personal body, but I still think it’s important that we’re willing to feel the pain of the collective so we can respond to it, recognize that something hurts inside, and tend to what hurts, so it can get healed.
With this as one of my primary missions here on earth — to help dissolve the story of separation and reunite us into a real, genuine love — you can imagine how my heart leapt wildly, with intense “YES! YES! YES!” gratitude, when one of my 2018 Visionary Mentoring Clients, Noelle Newby, sent me what she had just written. I’ve never published someone else’s writing before, but sometimes, your Inner Pilot Light just says “Now. This.”
So… without further ado, I feel grateful to be able to broadcast this message of love from Noelle to her high school sweetheart. Take it away, Noelle!
Love Your Enemy
I loved you before:
Before Twitter, Trump, “I’m with Her,” “Build the Wall,” MSNBC, Fox News, and #fakenews.
Before I knew there were wars to wage, sides to choose and casualties to count.
Before either of us could cast, much less comprehend the impact a checked ballot box could have on connection, community, and consciousness.
Before vitriol became the primary, preferred means of collective communication.
Before cell phones, selfies and Bro Country; the latter of which I imagine you hate, almost as much as you hate me.
Our love was once pure, flawed, gut-wrenching and gorgeous, living long after we were each other’s one and only. Through decades we morphed from star-crossed, to friends, to a kind of family. You taught me many a tender tenant; to love and be loved with reckless abandon, that heartbreaks both hurt and heal, to laugh until I cry, that “chicka-ba, chicka-ba, no chi no” were not lyrics to Charlie Daniel’s “Devil Went Down to Georgia,” and that no matter the scars, love endured.
For 25 years, I’ve kept every penned letter, picture and playbill with your likeness or name; not because I longed for you, but because remembering us erases age. The part of me that loves you is forever seventeen — innocent, vibrant and alive with the hope and promise of a life well lived and loved. Of course, there’s a woman here now too. She’s wiser, wider, and worn. Her love is more fierce than frivolous. She craves control and comfort in her sweet, hard-manifested life, fracturing with fear at the ultimate undoing of it all. We’re an enigma, this woman-child. Together we see this world in Technicolor, both for what it is, and what it’s meant to be. Better or worse, our world includes you.
Even though we’re now the “other” in your existence, a grey-glob comprised of half the country and all you loathe. No longer unique. No longer cherished. A once cosmic connection, evaporated in a social-media-minute.
It’s true. We have few reasons to love each other today — opposing sides in nearly everything we believe, begrudge and hold dear. There are millions of “yous” and millions of “mes,” this very minute, flush-faced and raged at keyboards and crowds, screaming for screaming’s sake, never changing a mind or impacting a heart; combatants in a contemporary civil war. What chance do they have if two, once-twined souls can’t hold a space for love within the complex chaos of the American dream?
I try and explain the fracture to the me who once clutched you close. I tell her you’re angry, righteous, and maybe a little afraid, believing the worst of us at every tweet and turn. But seventeen is stubborn, and she’ll have none of abandoning you. Each time she sees your face or hears your name, a smile steals into the sliver of our heart you conquered, before time beats to present day.
I could force her to submit to what severs instead of binds. But to do so would diminish what is left of her, and that I cannot abide. Because maybe she’s the best of me, fighting for the best of you. And maybe the world would benefit from a little more doe-eyed, force of loving will.
At this moment, on another plane, she’s leaving young you a final, clumsy origami hidden beneath a dilapidated desk. In eternal ink, she’s etched what she most wants you to know; that the dreams you co-conjured in car rides and cigarette kisses came true. That she loves her life and thanks you for your part in it. That when she’s afraid she still “screws her courage to the sticking-place,” knowing she will not fail. That she loves her friend. Always. And Still.
Maybe there’s hope for (all of) us yet.
Want more? You can read Noelle’s other blogs here.
May love win,
About the authors:
Lissa Rankin, MD is a mind-body medicine physician on a grass roots mission to heal healthcare, while empowering you to heal yourself. She is the founder of the Whole Health Medicine Institute training program for physicians and healthcare providers, and the New York Times bestselling author of the books Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself (2013), The Fear Cure (2014), and The Anatomy of a Calling(2015).
Lissa blogs at LissaRankin.com and created the online community HealHealthCareNow.com. She is also the author of several other books, a speaker, a professional artist, an amateur ski bum, and an avid hiker. She lives in the San Francisco Bay area.
Noelle Newby is an imperfect marketer, writer, yogi, wife and a forty-something-year-old mother of two cherished children under the age of five. Instead of sleeping, she works, writes, plays and thoroughly enjoys life in her hometown of Austin, Texas.