Monday I posted, among other things, a series of tweets by Sugar at the Rumpus that I thought were important. She spoke of feeling protective of the people who write her letters and said how hard it is for her to read comments from people who criticize them.
At the time I posted, I hadn’t read the comments on Sugar’s latest column. I usually don’t. Sugar is one of those writers whose words I need time to sit with (or recover from). Every week, I read her column and I feel two things intensely: 1) the hurt, imperfect, searching, hopeful humanity of her letter-writers, and 2) Sugar’s wisdom reaching inside me, illuminating questions I didn’t know I had until she answered them, making me feel loved, even though I’m not the person she’s writing to.
I never venture into the comment thread, but Sugar’s tweets stayed with me, so when I got home Tuesday, I did. Most were sweet. They expressed understanding and support, gratitude for Sugar. The ones that didn’t broke my heart a little, made me think of how quick we are to judge, to call people names, to act as though we have the corner on morality.
But what struck me most is that even Sugar’s response to the critics is compassionate. She recognizes in herself that same tendency to judge, and it is there, I think, in that admission, in that instant of uncomfortable recognition, that the opportunity for true, fearless love lies. It’s easier, of course, to judge, to wall ourselves off, to point out the flaws of others. I did it. When I read the comments Sugar was tweeting about, I felt protective of her letter-writers too. I called the name-callers names (just in my head, not in the comment thread).
And then I came back and read Sugar’s tweets again. “But I hope we will all remember as often as possible that we have all made mistakes, we’ve all been ugly or wrong or selfish or dumb at times…” And I realized that sometimes fearless love is just that: the ability to see ourselves in the broken parts of another, to stand face-t0-face with ugly (or wrong or selfish or dumb) and choose love.