Kind promise: I will love in this moment.
Recently, I bumped into Jeremy Courtney’s work. I listened to his TEDx talk and heard his philosophy of “preemptive love.” The whole talk is worth the 18-minute listen, but it only took him two minutes to explain the phrase that’s been sizzling in my mind since I heard it:
“Preemptive love is where I jump forward to love you before you love me. I jump forward to trust you before – perhaps – you trust me. We all know that violence unmakes the world. Preemptive love unmakes violence. Preemptive love remakes the world through healing.”
— Jeremy Courtney
Courtney is the founder of preemptivelove.org, which provides life-saving surgeries to Iraqi children.
It’s so tempting, with things like love and trust, to pretend I am Lady bountiful and wait to bestow them upon people who have earned them. What codswallop! [Hey, the assistive software knows that word!] It is so much better, so much more fun to jump forward to love and trust. Not grudgingly creepy crawl, but leap with confidence and joy.
And then there’s the idea of unmaking and remaking the world. This appeals to every mythmaking bone in my body. The idea that each of us, with every action, is either contributing to the wholeness or brokenness of the world seems True. Each day I ask myself several times, “who do I want to be?” That question helps guide me through the little choices that make up each day and become my life. A similarly useful question: Does this remake or unmake the world?
I might get hurt practicing preemptive love and trust. Remaking the world is not easy. But that is who I want to be.