When Mr. Rogers accepted the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 24th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards, he asked the audience to take ten seconds to think of the people who had loved them into being. He wanted listeners to think of the people whose love had formed them.
Those who love us into being deliver us to the other side of the unimaginable. They witness us in the moments we wish we didn’t have to share. They love abundantly when we have nothing to give in return. To be loved into being is to be cradled by community.
We live in community to make things bearable. In community, we multiply the capacity for joy and the bodies that can help carry our burdens. To be in community is to accept and to give. Togetherness is a promise of endurance. We must promise ourselves that we will accept love when we need it to ensure we have love to give to in return. Accepting love isn’t an act of greed. It is an act of necessity that allows us to complete the circle for those we will love into being.
Life is filled with love of all flavors. We feel fleeting love when we see animals having lunch as a couple or couples exchanging a meaningful look on a sleepy subway commute. We feel the depths of love in our roles as siblings and daughters and partners and friends. Love has breadth when we see thousands of people demanding justice. Love shows its complexity when we are hurt by those we’ve trusted to protect us. It takes all kinds to love us into being, and our duty as community members is to soak it in and spread it around.
Being loved is a lifetime practice of saying “yes” to kindness and compassion. It is a daily commitment to seeing love in small moments and sharing it in large doses. Accepting love necessitates moving away from transactional acts and allowing shared moments to be transformational. If we are to do anything from a place of love, we must first welcome it.