I read an interview that a graduate student of religion conducted with American theologian James H. Cone and I was moved to remember the importance of love in my own life because of what Cone says about his parents and his community. When asked about receiving his calling, Cones says this in reply:
It started early for me. It happened before I knew it was happening. The model of my parents; they loved me. They deeply loved me. That gave me the strength to be able to speak with a kind of self-confidence. There was the Macedonia AME [African Methodist Episcopal] church which was an extension of the kind of love that I received at home, with the people expressing their confidence in me and in their belief that God had put me–and not just me, but all of us–on this earth to do something special. And then there was my segregated school, my teachers in the school who were a part of my church and the other churches – they also reinforced that. So by the time I was 16 years old and graduated from high school, I had been kept safe with the love of my parents, with Macedonia AME church, and at my school and in the community itself. When you are loved you are empowered.
Cone makes a marvelous tribute to his parents when he acknowledges how “deeply” they loved him. It seems to me a worthwhile goal to set for myself as a parent to one day have my son say that I loved him “deeply;” too, it seems worthwhile to have as my goal to have my friends and family say the same.