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#ToleranceMeans Love Work

Updated: Apr 11

Samantha Hicks, Undergraduate, Eastern Illinois University

Samantha Hicks, Undergraduate, Eastern Illinois University

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“When I think of tolerance, I think of “what am I willing to put up with” which gives the word a bad rap. Tolerance transcends into so much more when one takes the time to do to the love work within themselves and with others as one moves from one stage of growth to the next.”


Bridging divides in America looks like “love work” as Dr. Cairo speaks about in her book, Holding Space. The disconnectedness of humans towards each other and other living beings that inhabit our Mother Earth is increasingly apparent and unsettling. We can project all of these grand theories as to what and why these deep divides between our fellows are continuing at such an alarming rate. But when we get down to it, it’s the selfish, self-seeking, and fearful motives that divide us. I hope these suggestions of closing the gaps in the dominant and the other divide will hopefully make the ones who read and hear this reflect on the subtle voices and actions of themselves and the way their presence in this world affects all of us in it. Let’s consider the fact that human beings like taking the “easier, softer way.” Love work requires peeling back the layers of oneself to uncover the things we find objectionable, or that others may find questionable. It is not for the faint of heart who are willing to trudge the road of self-analyzation day in and day out to traverse the path that leads to the type of being one wishes to strive towards and the indispensable steps to carry out their story. If we come at this issue of bridging divides with a simpler approach, maybe it’ll catch on quicker. Maybe it’ll be relatable and easier to hear and digest and translate into action. As I mentioned, humans tend to like the “easier, softer way.” Addressing the divisions of America involves addressing ourselves which may be unfavorable or “unnecessary” for some. So, let’s admit there’s a problem amongst the nation and with those who dwell within it. I can no longer look blindly onto the injustices and unremitting hate of my fellows. Now what? I admit the fact that my human aid is not sufficient to overcome the vastness of the problem as a whole. A quote comes to mind— “He can, I can’t, I think I’ll let Him.” This is where the notion of spirituality in academia is awkwardly spoken into existence and demands more emphasis. So many have used their God to lean on for support in times of hardship and also celebration with gratitude, tolerance, acceptance, and forgiveness. When I think of tolerance, I think of “what am I willing to put up with” which gives the word a bad rap. Tolerance transcends into so much more when one takes the time to do to the love work within themselves and with others as one moves from one stage of growth to the next. Tolerance can look like forgiveness with chain linked fence boundaries. The chain linked fence is to see through and beyond the grievance of myself and extend love towards others while holding firm the expectations of myself I have continued to mold through the experience of uncovering my many layers of self. Let’s continue these tolerance dialogues in attempts to fortify our love work within and with each other.




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