BHFH Digest: Witnessing love

January 18th, 2022 | Sofia Post

Image of winter mountain landscape with river.

Dear Friends,

With the recent passing of bell hooks, Jen, Cat, and I decided to read All About Love over the holidays and have a conversation about it when we returned. 

I hadn’t read this book yet, and — for the first time in a while — the experience of reading it went far beyond just trying to understand the concepts that were being presented. Reading this book was an entire spiritual, intellectual, and emotional awakening. I came away with a new lens of looking at relationships. 

I have often understood relationships among people to be transactional: each person providing something needed for the other, which can include things like comfort or care. But bell hooks defines love as something more than care: the will to nurture one’s own and another’s spiritual growth. 

This definition reminded me of the relationships I feel deeply loved in, where I feel known, seen, validated, able to grow, and more that I can’t put to words.

One word has risen for me very clearly though: witness. To me, the word implies an ability to allow each other to grow and change, while remaining present to that growth. For me, that’s what it means to support another’s spiritual growth: to not reduce them to a static image of what they were, or to past behaviors, or even to what they do for me, but to bear witness to their becoming. 

It’s a joy for me to be able to have that kind of love in my relationships inside and outside of Beacon Hill Friends House, both as something I provide and something I gain. 

In addition to this message, I’m excited to share with you some upcoming programs at the Friends House, as well as a special presentation from our Program Director, Jen, to the Friends Association on Higher Education. We’ll be excited to see you at any of these events!

With love and peace, 

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