Can you love something into existence?

No really. Think about it. Can you?

Stencil in San Francisco. Photo by Franco Folini, flickr

Here's how I arrived at this particular mind knot. Yesterday, I was sitting in the congregation at my friends' wedding. C and J are a lovely couple -- fun, generous, and surrounded by a great community of friends and family. The deacon (a relative of the groom) gave the sermon, and at one point he said: "Your love has always been here. It has been here since God first loved you into existence."

God loved you into existence. I'd never heard that phrase before (which, if fast Internet research is to be trusted, means I haven't been paying attention for my nearly-30 years in the Catholic Church, but we're letting that go for now). So when I heard it from the pulpit, I had this immediate and highly sacrilegious train of thought:
  1. I remembered when I was five and asked my parents where babies come from. They answered, "When two people love each other very much, their love comes together and makes a baby." So for the next 3 or 4 years, my conception of conception was that love rays shoot out of a couple's chests, collide in between, and form an infant floating in space.
  2. I pictured God sitting alone in a dark universe, tapping a finger on a nearby plane of existence, thinking "Hmm, what to do, what to do ... I know! I'll love something into existence!", and then clenching everything from jaw to ass cheeks to squeeze out our feeble human race in a great big pile of love.
  3. I wondered: Can I love something into existence, too?
And then I had this train of thought in response:
  1. Though I now know where babies really come from, I don't think my original perception was that far off.
  2. Did I really just picture a Divine Creator pooping out love?
  3. Technically, babies are "loved into existence" with very human acts, sometimes involving tequila. So yes, I could technically do it.
But that wasn't really my question. I wasn't talking about creating people (though if I'm ever pregnant, I might use this theology as a basis for an epic power trip). And I wasn't talking about the call to love others, because I did pay enough attention over 30 years to pick up on that. I was asking it in a more holistic way: Can I love something, anything, so deeply and so sincerely, that I give it a life beyond its abstraction?

For example: Can I love a goal into achievement? Can I love inspiration into art? Can I love a relationship into friendship or romance? Can I love the very act of loving, so much that I give love legs to walk upright and speak without thinking and go where it pleases?

And then my head exploded.

So I'm giving you the headache instead. Can focusing on love itself, rather than the objects of it, become a self-fulfilling mission? And does it protect us from playing God, and instead help us play human in all its cracked, reflective, and occasionally brilliant glory?

That's it. Off you go. Let me know what you think.

Prayer #236: Cuppa Love

"Love one another as God has loved you."

Golden in its simplicity. Direct in its order. Impossible much of the time.

But what if I sit down at a diner counter instead and see love before me as a steaming cup of coffee, waiting for me to wrap my hands around it, cradle it, sip it? What if I pass the cup? Fill another one? Make a fresh pot and invite others to sit around me?

Then we'll all line the diner counter, each with a cup before us, warm and energized -- not thinking about the menu, not thinking about the check, just savoring what's before us and within us.

Love in such a form is addictive. Hook me now. Hook me always.