Love never ends. – 1 Corinthians 13:8a (NRSV)
Julie has lived 9 lives and has a few more left. She grew up in the South with Kentucky Derby bonnets, ran off to be a rock singer in L.A., then became an ass-kicking litigator. She met Lorenzo, and they married in a DIY wedding and had two sweet babies. The marriage didn’t last, but they worked out joint custody of both their kids and their church community. A few years after the divorce, Julie was hit and nearly killed in a drunk-driving accident that left her in a wheelchair.
Just a few months before the accident, a new love tumbled into Julie and Lorenzo’s life: a woman showed up on his doorstep with a 2-year-old son he had not known about. The baby’s mother was in a severe mental health crisis, serially homeless, and unable to care for Abie; she left him with Lorenzo, never to return.
Abie started tagging along to Julie’s when it was her night with their kids, and within a few months, he was calling her Mom. Even given how helpless she was against his charms, it took moxie for Julie to say yes to this unexpected love in her life, to say yes to becoming a mother again in the most unexpected way, as a single parent, an ex, and a newly disabled person.
She made a choice to make her heart bigger, and her life more complicated, in staying friends with Lorenzo and falling in love with Abie.
Richard Rohr says that life is Love School, the chief reason why we are here. “You only know what love is by falling into it, almost against your will, because it is too scary and too big to be searched out, manufactured, or even imagined ahead of time. It is all training for the falling into The Love that is the Greatest.” We will not graduate from Love School until we die—and even then, who knows?
God, keep my heart growing, whether I want it or not. Amen.
Molly Baskette pastors at First Church Berkeley (CA) UCC. She is the author of several books about church renewal, parenting & faith, and spirituality. You can connect with her by subscribing to her newsletter, Doomsday Dance Party.