At some point after the priest had finished his homily this morning, something happened to me.
I had been feeling so much hate for everything, a hate I’ve been carrying around with me for longer than I can remember. I felt like a hypocrite being in this place where love is everywhere, and I was poisoning it with my thoughts. It would be logical for me to leave, once again, and never come back to Church.
But strangely enough, there was something about hate that I kept repeating in my mind as I was kneeling:
“I hate that I hate.”
“I hate that I hate.”
“I HATE that I hate.”
I hate that I hate. Through all the dirt and muck of hate, the one thing I hated more than anything else was that I hated. I didn’t want to hate. I didn’t want to keep hating. I wanted to love. I want to love. I wanted, more than anything in the world, to feel love.
And over the next few minutes, the hate washed away. I remember looking at someone in one of the pews in front of me, and seeing, with my own eyes, that person become brighter. I felt the hate washing away, and emptying out of me. I wanted to love, and somehow, that took away the hate.
As this was happening, something else came into my mind. A TV show called True Detective.
In case you haven’t seen it, True Detective is an HBO show about two detectives trying to solve a murder case over the course of 20 years. I became interested in this show mostly because of the character Rust Cole, the smarter and more observant detective, the ying to the yang of Martin Hart, the other detective.
Cole is a nihilistic and pessimistic person. Smarter than most, he has an extreme view of existence as trivial and insignificant. That the only smart thing for humanity to do is to stop reproducing, ignore our genetic code, and walk off the face of existence. He’s a man that is not well liked by anyone, that spends most of his time alone, drinking and obsessing over things others wouldn’t obsess over.
In other words, Cole is someone I could identify with. I could see a man who had reconciled his nature with the world, and he knew who he was, something that meant he was different from everyone else, which caused him both victory and pain.
In the very last scene of the story, Cole, having recovered from near-death, talks to his partner about what he saw when he was under. He saw darkness, and despair, but under that was a light, a warmth. And in that warmth, his dead daughter, his dead father.
“I could feel her love there,” he says, breaking down in tears, the first time we see any real vulnerability from this man who has spent his entire life shunning existence and other people.
I sometimes think the only thing that can make the hardest of people cry is love. Feeling that love, remembering what it was like to love after so long in the darkness changes people. Remembering what it was like to just let love take hold, and wanting nothing more in the entire universe than to feel that love forever.
It was something I felt in those minutes after the homily. The warmth, the light of love. The ability that love has to flow through me and make me want nothing more than to love all the time. To tell my friend next to me that I love her, to tell the couple in front of me I love them, and to go up to the priest and tell him I love him, then go out into the world and be immersed in the love of writing, of code, of art, of friends, of family, of fiction and of music. To love all things I do and love that I love it.
I felt love during the last part of Mass, and it was everything I could do to keep it all together and not start bawling like a baby, because I very well could have. What I felt was something very similar to the breakdown Cole had in the last scene of True Detective, something that I think really speaks to the actor’s performance. And the actor who played Rust Cole? Matthew McConaughey.
I don’t know that I’ve come to a point where I feel like I’m completely over hate and anger, or that I believe in that personal God again. But there’s something happening, some strange threads that are coming together that I can’t explain, and it’s changing something inside me that I’ve wanted for a very long time: to remember how to love.
I can’t say I’m there yet, but I’m on my way.