I invite you to ponder this statement for yourself: I am either nothing or I am something. Over the last week or so I have given this a lot of thought. This statement might seem simplistic, but it was magnified by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision that same sex marriage is now legal in all 50 states. The government is now sanctioning another way to be together. I am delighted about the decision. Yet still, it dawned on me that the government is deciding what it will sanction as real, as something, as if the love between these couples had not been real before.
I’ve been looking at the idea that marriage is actually a political, a financial, a cultural thing. It’s not just about whether or not people want to be partners and love each other. While I honor the love that brings people together and keeps people together in marriage, that is different than a system that says you have certain privileges if you have a piece of paper declaring you are legally married.
In some states, all you have to do is introduce someone as your spouse and you are married; and then in other states the requirements are more stringent. You may even need parental approval, depending on your age. Now you can be legally married to someone of the same sex, deeming the government as the one who determines who and what gets sanctioned and validated.
I know there are lots of reasons this will be a blessing for people. What has been gnawing at me is the declaration that certain people are now declared legal participants in a system set up by another group of people who are declaring what is a sanctioned relationship that comes with privileges. I suppose it’s like changing the rules to see who can join the club.
I am a single woman who has never had children—when am I going to get sanctioned? I have been judged and conclusions have been made about my life, and I’m not waiting for my life to be sanctioned. In other countries there are different cultural mores that result in sanctioning. I know in the past there were parts of the world that declared you weren’t truly a man until you had numerous wives and abundant children.
Going back to my original thought, are you something or are you nothing? Are you now something because the law says you are and the Supreme Court said you can marry the person you are in love with? Does that now make you something? Or have you always been something?
So if you are something, you are not nothing. And if you really were nothing, you would not be something. Your life has meaning, or it doesn’t.
Whatever anyone else may decide about it, we have this incredible life. We are who we are. I think it’s pretty crucial that you decide whether that’s something or nothing. This consideration took me down a path of logical deductions.
If you are not nothing, you are something, and everything you do is a revelation of that something. But the thing you are doing is not that something. You are revealing yourself, that something, through the thing you do, but that thing is not you; you are the something.
There is a glory round about that something, so you are revealing it, which confirms that you are not nothing. If you’re doing something, glory is being revealed, and so you cannot be nothing. You actually are something. You have to get over the fact that at times you might feel you are nothing, because you are something!
Is love something or is love nothing? Logically, it has to be one or the other. I think love is something, and I think love is a wonder that is compelled to reveal itself. It reveals itself through everything, including people. Love is always ready to reveal itself, and it is not stopped by human limitations, beliefs, or understandings. Love doesn’t care about that stuff. Love was not waiting for the Supreme Court ruling.
Love doesn’t care about human approval or sanctioning. Love brings itself. It is not fighting or confined by human systems. It’s just being and bringing itself.
So if love is something, and cursing is the opposite of loving, then cursing is nothing. You can’t love and curse at the same time. You can’t be something and be nothing at the same time. It just doesn’t work. Also, if that something you are is love, do you see and feel that you are one with the love that is everything? If you do, then this confirms your oneness with another. So if you curse another, you curse yourself.
Here was another question in my thought process: “Can you reveal that something that you are and not be glorious?” I don’t think so. I do know you cannot reveal that glory and curse at the same time.
Now to me this is just basic logic. It can sound like some kind of spiritual principle. It can sound like some kind of teaching lesson. For me it is simply “If this, then that.” It is just a fact. If you in fact know that you are love, and you know that love is everything, and you curse another person, you are cursing love, which means you are cursing yourself. And you can’t then be both—you can’t be love and be cursing at the same time. Well, you can curse and deny, but then you are starting to believe that you are in fact nothing, and you’re cursing yourself into nothingness.
That something that you are, that love that you are is not controlled by the government or by other people’s behavior. So if you are in fact revealing that something that you are, that glory that you are, it is not deterred. People may react to you, or dislike you, and that something is not changed. Your somethingness does not stop when somebody judges you. What another person does or says doesn’t change that something.
When I think about the number of people in same-sex relationships who have been in love and committed to each other, I know people cursing them did not take that love away. They have been cursed, just like people of color have been cursed and all kinds of people who have been victims of prejudice. To know that the love that you are, the something you are, is untouchable and will not be destroyed by another person’s judgment of you is an important thing, especially when you have just come to the conclusion that “I am something.” There is tenderness in the beginning of this knowing that deserves protection. You are either something or you are nothing. I don’t know of anything in the middle. Can you be a little bit something and a little bit nothing? I don’t think so. I don’t know how to do it. Once you start being one or the other, you start eliminating what you are deciding you are not.
Data doesn’t change that something. I became a chiropractor thirty-five years ago. I made a decision to go to chiropractic school because chiropractic acknowledges that you are something—something more than the data that medical science can collect about you. I had taken my MCATs (Medical College Entrance Tests) and I was planning to go to medical school. But I kept running into this feeling that it was about collecting and taking care of the data, taking care of the symptoms and the diagnoses. In my head and heart was the question, “What about the something?” What about the animating force that allowed that data to be alive on this planet? There wasn’t a whole lot of acknowledgment of that in the field of medicine at that time. There was a lot of pride in figuring out the data. I knew there was something more that was important to me. When you’re diagnosing the body as if it were a machine by analyzing medical data, and not paying attention to the something, the “machine” might get better but the something might never be acknowledged.
I knew a wholistic medical doctor who was very interested in that “something.” He shared with me and others his view that the treatment might be successful even though the patient died. His view of success was that the patient woke up to that something. Their body may have passed away but they had come to know the greatness of who they were. The illness itself brought them to their somethingness. Crisis often brings us to our somethingness, because if we are in crisis and we are nothing, why would we care?
While I was in college an astronomer proclaimed we could blow up the moon and it wouldn’t matter, because it’s nothing. The US was heavily involved in the space program. We were traveling to the moon and doing all kinds of scientific research about traveling to Mars. I was shocked by the astronomer’s view of the moon and certainly didn’t agree. Here was another source of “intelligence” attempting to sanction their view of reality. We don’t understand its function, it looks dead to us, nothing’s happening there, it’s irrelevant. In the field of medicine they don’t understand the function of certain parts of our anatomy so they are deemed unimportant. In some states it is the law that if a doctor surgically opens someone’s lower abdomen, they have to remove the appendix. Modern medicine apparently believes that the appendix is useless and could be a problem later.
The moon, our appendix, our life—are there parts of Creation that are nothing because someone says so? If we are something, we can’t also be nothing—no matter what anyone says.
With all my thought about being something, I have been reflecting on what it means to be “in love,” and how we have tied the experience of our somethingness to being in love with another person. I searched Google this morning to see if I could find lyrics from some of the saddest love songs out there, because a couple of them came to my head:
I am nothing, nothing, nothing,…if I don’t have you.
How do I live without you?
There were lists: Top 40 Love Songs That Will Make You Cry and Top 35 Sad Heartbreak Songs. The truth is that what other people do does not change the fact that you are something. In addition, how you feel and how you think does not take away the something. How you feel and how you think does not make you into a nothing. It does not eliminate the something that is present. What you think and feel is an experience, it’s part of being human. We care about people and they sometimes pass away, or they go away, or they don’t love us anymore, or it feels like our heart has broken. But who you are, that something, hasn’t gone anywhere. There are a lot of songs that will tell you otherwise—35, 40 or more on the websites I looked at! And, no doubt, many more beyond that. There is no shame in feeling the feelings of heartbreak, but it’s important to feel them and remember I’m still something. That something reveals my glory whenever I do anything. Whatever I do is an opportunity to reveal the glory of my somethingness.
So if you are something, you are not nothing. And when at times you are feeling like you’re not having a creative impact in your world, when you’re feeling like everything you’re doing is failing, that doesn’t take you into nothingness. Right in front of you is an opportunity to reveal the glory of that something that you are. Even when you’re feeling like you’re failing, that somethingness is full of glory waiting to be revealed. Love does not wait to reveal its wonder. If you are something, if you are love, you don’t have to wait either.
It’s important to answer the question, “Are you something or are you nothing?”