Love is Strong
Our Director Rachel recently visited Los Angeles. During her time there she attended To Write Love On Her Arms‘ flagship event ‘Heavy And Light’. Here are her thoughts after the witnessing the night.
I was at a loss for words- less than 24 hours ago I was crying in despair at the news of my grandfather’s death. The thought of doing anything, much less talking to anyone or smiling, seemed improbable for the rest of my time in the USA. Now, I was standing in the House of Blues. Scratch that, I was dancing in the House of Blues as The Summerset blasted Throw Your Hearts On the Floor. I was feeling light, I was feeling free and I was feeling confused. I am learning more and more you can feel a variety of different emotions at once and this experience just seemed to prove it.
My sister, a Fall ’13 intern for TWLOHA had urged me to stay an extra few weeks in the USA before we departed home for Australia, specifically so we could help out at Heavy and Light in LA. I didn’t know what I was in for, but the night changed my life forever. I came longing for home, for family, for a hug, for some comfort. I thought I could only receive that from Australia, from people I knew, but I was wrong.
At Heavy and Light, I realized home is made when people make a point to connect with you; when people stop and start a conversation amidst the turbulence of life. Home is about the people you are with, as opposed to the destination you find yourself in. Home is where you experience love, a true, unconditional, authentic love for who you really are.
That night I felt privileged to welcome guests into my new found home. As I handed each new friend a lifeline to hope in the form of a TWLOHA services flier, I felt love. That love lifted me from the heaviness I was feeling and urged me to welcome each person walking through the door with joy and compassion. Perhaps each of these people needed love shown to them, just as much as I did. Perhaps tonight would be the night where they would feel the light amidst heaviness. Maybe, even in my heaviness, by showing love I would help bring some light to another.
I’d felt the heavy that night as Mary Lambert spoke of past hurts. I felt the light as Tristan Prettyman sang about picking up a guy at Trader Joes. I thought I’d had my share of emotions for the evening- heavy, light; yep, fulfilled the quota. Then Jon Foreman hit the stage and messed me up big time. At this stage of the evening I was at the back of the room, getting ready for the end of the show- my game face was on. Then Bryce Avery rocked up and sang Your Love is Strong with Jon. I broke; mask gone, heart placed on sleeve, hands in the air. I felt heavy and light, all at once. I didn’t understand it, but as I looked around at the hundreds of people around me I realized they were experiencing the same thing. People’s eyes had suddenly lit up, hands were thrown in the air in freedom and the audience was captivated as they echoed the words.
As someone who believes in God and believes my grandfather went to a better place at his passing, the phrase “So why do I worry? Why do I freak out? God knows what I need. You know what I need…Your love is strong” hit home, it gave me hope. Times can be hard, that’s ok. It’s ok to feel deeply and at times throw our hands in the air in despair and then in freedom. It’s also ok to feel lightness in that time; to feel a peace, to grasp onto hope that there can and will be joy in these times of the heavy.
Heavy and Light LA ‘13 brought me into a new family. Humanity means there is heavy, there is light- and sometimes, they are both present at the exact same time. I experienced ‘home’ when each individual in The House of Blues on the Sunset Strip experienced this tension at once; despite different backgrounds, experiences, beliefs or locations. Love bonded us together. Love transcended the heavy and the light. Love is Strong.