It was a hot fine summer day when I took this picture. I loved the beauty of the horse and the shadows of late afternoon stretching across the field. Yet, as I took in the whole scene I realized how short the grass was and how dry. Was the horse thirsty? Did it need an apple or some carrots? I wandered to the trough which had plenty water then spoke to the horse who twitched an ear toward me and with barely an upward glance seemed say: “Unless you have food in hand to be worth my time I am quite busy here so either watch me in silence or move along.” I chuckled to myself and did just that.
When I was in 10th grade I put together a questionnaire on the topic of caring for a class. At first the teacher thought it was foolish, you either care or you don’t. “That’s just it” I told her. “What exactly is caring and why do people feel compelled to care about some things and not about others?” She paused, thought a minute shrugged her shoulders and said “Ok, you may have something there.” I had quite a few questions. They are still in a box somewhere that I found a few years ago. It impressed me then and still does now that a group of tenth graders could, if given a chance really say some profound things such as: “I care about my family but now it seems like I care about my boyfriend more so does that mean that caring is only about feeling safe?” Another: “We are told we should care because God expects us too and you cannot be a good person unless you care. I care a lot and if I were a God and gave people freedom to make choices that would be cool for like maybe hundred years but come on man… people were not getting it and its been 2000 years since Jesus. If God really cares he needs to send in another kid or Angel or something…” One more said “Caring is just another word for love which is why it screws you up all the time because you care to much or don’t care enough.”
I carefully sorted papers, looked up definitions and pondered on the answers and asked myself is caring simply love?
“No” I mused “I do not think so, because you care about your grades, you care about what’s for dinner, you care about your job, you care about going to heaven because all these things have consequence in one way or another for your future but love,…. Love fly’s in the face of consequence. Love dares to be silent, love dares to shout to the world. Love moves mountains or surrenders into the arms of death itself.
Is caring the first step in love? Perhaps at times yes, but mostly caring seems to rise to devotion both spiritually as well as in human relations . Love is not a business contract The farmer cares for his crop and he cares about the health of his soil whether or not he loves his land depend on his culture and spiritual relationship to his land and the very earth itself. So perhaps some of what the human struggle is (and we don’t even see it) is how we value love and caring itself. If we don’t really fully understand or value what truly motivates us or what emotions and feelings inspire us to our deepest commitments and vows; how can we lead lives that hold satisfaction in the present? How can we have hope for the future of our endeavors as well as believe that there is a future for our souls. This is the deeper meaning. This is the looming pink elephant we all care about but cannot dare face because we are all too angry and shamed by our ignorance and fear. If we have not a reasonable answer to the question “Why should we care?” Then at the very least we must have some sort of reason to love otherwise our future is only built then upon the trappings of ego and therein lies the hells of our earth just look at the middle east as one place to start. To have the will to make change for the betterment of others you must care about consequence and the consequences only matters if you love enough to care.