Somebody to Love
An extraordinary phenomenon occurred in San Francisco a few weeks ago, which transformed the city and has the potential to transform many more. That day Batkid triumphed over fear.
Miles Scott, age five, was diagnosed with Leukemia at 20 months of age, and is now clear of the disease. When Miles indicated to the Make-a-Wish Foundation that he would like to be Batman for a day, news of his request spread through social media like wildfire and November 14 became Batkid day in the city. The entire front page of the San Francisco Chronicle was dedicated to him. Over 10,000 people lined the streets as Miles rode in a Batmobile, rescued a damsel in distress, stopped the Riddler from robbing a bank, and saved the San Francisco Giants’ mascot Lou from the Penguin. Mayor Ed Lee awarded Miles the key to the city and he received President Obama’s first Vine on Twitter congratulating him. Watch a video of Batkid’s adventure.
I had to wonder why, of all the kids and adults in the world facing diseases, of the many who would be thrilled to have his adventure and equally deserved it, did Miles attract such attention? Here’s what I came up with:
The event was just as uplifting, healing, and necessary for supporters as it was for Miles. The fans needed to love as much as Miles needed to be loved. In a world so often cynical, saturated with fear and negativity, politics of protest, and disappointing leaders and heroes, people need something to cheer. The human spirit grows tired of bad news. When something truly good-hearted comes along, those weary of dark tides come forth. Batkid was a shot in the arm for people who want to care. Miles was simply the focal point. When Beatlemania was at its height, George Harrison said of fanatic followers, “They all just wanted a chance to go crazy, and we were the venue.” We might say of the Batkid phenomenon, “They all just wanted a chance to cheer, and Miles was the venue.”
Marianne Williamson made a brilliant statement based on her understanding of A Course in Miracles. She said, “It is not the love we do not receive that hurts us. It is the love we do not give.”
Her point cannot be overstated. The best way to receive the love we yearn for is to give it. Giving love rewards us more richly than receiving it. The love we give fulfills us as it passes through us, regardless of if or how it is received. As the famous St. Francis prayer affirms, “It is in giving that we receive.”
As we move through the holiday season, we have many opportunities to practice giving love. I don’t mean simply putting a dollar in the Salvation Army basket. I mean with family members who irk us, annoying co-workers at the Christmas party, and with sales reps who tell us that the gift we ordered is delayed. Those are the real opportunities of the holidays.
This holiday season we can evolve from being love seekers to become love expressers. D.H. Lawrence declared, “Those that go searching for love only make manifest their own lovelessness, and the loveless never find love, only the loving find love, and they never have to seek for it.” You cannot simultaneously be a love seeker and a love finder. Even if you have been a love seeker for many years, you can instantly become a love finder. Then you will find everything you have sought inside yourself.