“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
When I was little, my parents taught me to never hate another person. “To hate someone,” they told me, “is to wish that they were dead.” Believe it or not, then, I grew up saying that I hated raisins, ketchup, and maybe “Lord of the Flies,” but never, not even as a teenager, did I dare to utter or even think to utter, “I hate her” or “I hate him.” I’ve tried to pass that on to my daughter.
In these past few months, though, I’m been having a little problem: not many days are passing by when I don’t want to say out loud, “I hate him,” or, to broaden the net, “I hate those people.” And I’m terribly uncomfortable with that.
But then it occurs to me that the reason that I hate these people is that they hate me: as a woman, as a woman of color, as an educated woman of color. It doesn’t make it any better, but it does feel better coming from a defensive position. They hate me, so I hate them. So there.
Hate keeps me up at night. Probably more than my reluctance to hate others, I don’t want to be hated. It’s all part of the same lesson: if one is kind, one will receive kindness. I’ve based my life on that. Unfortunately, though, we all know that it doesn’t work that way. That said, we can still stick to kindness as a moral, innate imperative. I know that I do. The alternative is a truly hateful heart. I hope and pray that I haven’t gotten there yet, because I can attest that it is indeed “too great a burden.” Dear Lord, help me to once again “stick with love.” Thank you, Dr. King, for reminding us.