“The cure for all the ills and wrongs, the cares, the sorrows and the crimes of humanity, all lie in the one word love. It is the divine vitality that everywhere produces and restores life.” –Lydia M. Child, abolitionist
In a small city like Cedar Rapids, people are connected to one another in ways that are not obvious – or even known – until there is a loss. Then, it is as if the threads of a tapestry light up and you can follow them as they criss-cross town. Folks who had appeared unconnected are suddenly linked, woven together by their shared sorrow. When the loss is sudden or unexpected, this effect is intensified; more so if the individual was a light-giver to others.
In these moments, so many things we are used to thinking of as important fall away, replaced by the certainty that love is paramount. Love given, love received, love multiplied exponentially by the very act of expressing it outwardly in ways big and small.
Suddenly, we understand that the people we see as “leaders” may have their roles, but the people who who give love freely, understanding that relationship is everything: these people are the actual beating heart of our communities.
When the communities we are a part of are reeling with the loss of such individuals, the paucity of loving leadership in the larger context of our state, region, or nation is revealed by stark contrast. You cannot lead from love and be a liar. You cannot lead from love and promulgate a scarcity mentality, in which your group or country will not have enough if others do (leading to policies and acts that are needlessly cruel and selfish). You cannot lead from love and encourage hate.
It follows, then, that true visionaries are those who lead with and from love, who inspire love in others. Leading from love generates love – abundance, shared growth, community.
Maybe we don’t think of love as a quality of leadership. If that’s the case, maybe its time we start.
“Give light, and people will find the way.” — Ella Baker, civil and human rights activist