The "year with bell hooks" Project: Letter #008
All About Love: Community - Loving Communion
Happy Sunday and a transformative Lent season to those who observe such❤️. Last week’s letter was a bit of a heavy read, so, I leave these words below as heart-filled sentiments to you.
I’m currently sitting on my couch as I write this letter, with the sound of the fan in the background, thinking about my friends. Gahhh, I love them so! I find them unique blessings in my life, just because of who they are and how their love for me (and I, them) is towards wellness and vitality. Our love is healing. And yet, I don’t think I knew just how deep deep this love was until the beginning of this year.
Reflecting on this week’s “year with bell hooks” letter, chapter 8 on community and loving communion leaves much to remain on my mind. In an earlier letter, I talked about a few of my dating woes (mm, I think I need a better word to describe this lol — like, “thoughts”? ), and chapter 8 was like a balm to me.
This week’s format looks slightly different as I share quotes from the chapter that I love and hope also provide healing, seeing, and relief in your journey.
What’s a quote that stood out to you?
Communities sustain life — not nuclear families, or the “couple,” and certainly not the rugged individualism
All About Love - p.129
The other place where children, in particular, have the opportunity to build community and know love is in friendship. Since we choose our friends, many of us, from childhood on into our adulthood, have looked to friends for the care, respect, knowledge, and all-around nurturance of our growth that we did not find in the family
All About Love - p.133
However, friendship is the place in which a great majority of us have our first glimpse of redemptive love and caring community
All About Love - p.134
The strength of our friendship was revealed by our willingness to confront openly the shift in our ties and to make necessary changes
All About Love - p.135
When we see love as the will to nurture one’s own or another’s spiritual growth, revealed through acts of care, respect, knowing, and assuming responsibility, the foundation of all love in our life is the same. There is no special love exclusively reserved for romantic partners. Genuine love is the foundation of our engagement with ourselves, with family, with friends, with partners, with everyone we choose to love.
All About Love - p.136
To love well is the task in all meaningful relationships, not just romantic bonds
All About Love - p.138
Satisfying friendships in which we share mutual love provides a guide for behavior in other relationships, including romantic ones. They provide us all with a way to know community.
All About Love - p.138
One of the major takeaways from this chapter, and bell hooks in general, is that (healthy) friendships teach us what (healthy) love can look like in real life. Friendships aren’t second-best love; friendship love is equal in priority to the other forms of love that we have learned to desire and want.
Now, don’t get me wrong, this wasn’t a letter to say “bump romance, let’s just all be friends,” but that healthy friendships are just so underappreciated in a world that makes you believe you aren’t loved until you have a romantic partner. And that’s a theft of the expansiveness and boundless nature of love that I don’t want to subscribe to. And I hope that in my desire for romantic love, I don’t miss when love is shown to me in the meantime.
Until next week, and of course, with love,