Let love in.
This is the message on the hotel key card that I picked up (and forgot to return) from The Clarence Hotel in Dublin. I found it in my purse when I returned to Canada, and I thought to frame it. The card has been sitting on my desk beside my computer since January. It has been sitting there since before freedom conveys. Before war broke out. War. An unprovoked war in a European democracy. How am I even writing that in 2022?
Let love in. The message is simple.
But in 2022, we still don’t get it. Why?
Aren’t these things that education and religion warn us about? Encourage us to overcome?
The obstacles to letting love in are grand. Locally. Globally. The temptations are strong.
But what would happen if we remove them? If they vanished. Poof! Would the world be a better place? Would local communities thrive? Would global relationships be nurtured? Would we finally reduce harm to humanity?
I believe that one of the roles of education is to develop well-rounded citizens. It should also teach us to be critically engaged. It should allow us to
I believe religion can provide spiritual guidance and promote strong values. Love thy neighbour. Be kind. Show respect. Be compassionate. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
And all that.
I encounter conflict nearly every day at the university (my work place). I challenge, and I am challenged. I oppose and agree with other people’s ideas just as they oppose and agree with mine. I am lucky to work within an institution that is founded on principles of open inquiry, freedom of speech, debate, and the rejection of intolerance. As we create and share knowledge, we “question dogmas and established doctrines and encourage critical thinking in all students and scholars” (Magna Charta Universitatum). I know I am lucky to work in such a space.
When I see, read, and hear about local and global conflict – about war – I feel like education and religion have failed us. We are failing one another.
So what do we do about it?
We help. We protest. We defend. We talk. We write.
We don’t repeat mistakes from the past.
We don’t harm one another.
We battle temptations.
We let love in.