Last week my wife and I were driving past a motel in the dead of night. The temperature was below freezing. We saw a young mother walking along the side of the road with her toddler son, they had no stroller, they were just walking. Neither of them was wearing coats; she was in sandals and he in a cheap track suit. We pulled over and asked if we could help somehow. They declined. We insisted. She acquiesced and so we loaded their bag, blanket, and car seat into our car. Apparently she was in town because her brother was in critical care at the University of Utah hospital and he wasn’t expected to last long. She had enough money to pay for a motel for two days but had no credit card to secure a room. We asked when they ate last. She mumbled something that we interpreted to mean it had been awhile since their last meal. It was too late for fast food so we went to a gas station and loaded them up for dinner and breakfast. I used my card to get a hotel room and helped get them situated. As I carried her bag up the stairs she began to cry and asked me if I was a Christian. I said yes. She said, “that explains it, not many people would stop to help us”.
I replied, “I didn’t help because I’m Christian- I helped because you’re human.” She didn’t deserve my love and charity because of what religious beliefs I hold, rather, she deserved my help simply because she needed it. Religion played no part in any of it for me.
Morality seems to flow from inside me. Sometimes religion awakens that goodness but it isn’t the source. Charity towards others is an obligation my heart requires. We have an infinite responsibility to one another. We are interconnected in ways that transcend religion. For some religion is helpful and produces good works and I support that. However, at this point in my life I prefer love and morality without the shame, fear, monthly membership dues and overall control that often accompany Church membership. I still enjoy the scriptures and I miss the fellowship of the Saints, but goodness continues despite my inactivity.
All this talk of selfless love reminds me of a scene from the movie V for Vendetta. The context isn’t important but the words ring true as scripture for me. More and more often I feel myself drawn out in love towards those around me, even those with whom I’ve never met.
what I hope most of all is that you understand what I mean when I tell you that even though I do not know you, and even though I may not meet you, laugh with you, cry with you, or kiss you: I love you.
With all my heart.
I love you.