love everyone.

Another guest post by Danielle Applestone.

Background: Rhett is my 4.5 year old son. We’ve just moved to a new city, and haven’t quite found the right childcare option. We aren’t religious in any organized sense, and definitely not Lutheran, but the folks at the neighborhood Lutheran school seemed to be competent and caring (and their school was very clean), so he is going there for the summer.


When I drop Rhett off for school, I feel like 1 part undercover agent, 1 part curious alien, 1 part worried mother. In the mornings, they have a gathering time for some type of story or information transfer and songs. I never had been to a bible school or ‘Sunday school’ before taking Rhett to this Lutheran place, but I realized today that bible school is where the transmission of all the religious lore must begin for most religious people. And at the core of the transmission is the songs. The songs are where the seeds of religion are totally sown. It makes sense though, you can get kids to brush their teeth, clean up their room, be gentle with one another as long as you say it with a catchy little jingle.

I used to be really apprehensive about religion as a child because I was totally outcast for being a non-believer in my small, totally christian community. No birthday party invites…scary letters saying my parents were going to hell…..that kind of thing. My apprehension has basically dwindled down to nothing at this stage in my life, enough to where I’m ready to simply observe. (Maybe my guard is just down??)

What I have observed so far from the Lutheran school is the following:

1. Caring about your environment and all the plants and animals is important.

2. Knowing where your food comes from is important.

3. There is nothing to worry about because if all else fails, Jesus loves you and God is there for you.

4. Love everyone.

And basically, all of the songs and crafts and lessons my son has experienced so far at the Lutheran school are to illustrate one of these four things. Nobody says anything like, “if you’re gay or you get an abortion, you’re going to hell.” So it’s really pleasant. It’s like they are behaving as if, “well, for now, let’s just agree to disagree.” And really, at the core, we do agree. “We,” being the non-god-believers and the believers. The last thing I heard this morning was a song called Jesus’ Love, and I couldn’t agree more with the teacher’s message. Something about how you can’t put Jesus’ love in a box or bag or grave or heart, because it just comes bubbling through. The teacher ended with the message, “So remember Jesus’ love bubbling out of your heart when you’re angry with someone about anything.” “Jesus’ love can’t be contained, it’s everywhere for everyone and we’ve got to show Jesus’ love everyday.” “So give Jesus’ love to everyone you see or meet.”

I do feel like love is just continuously pouring out of me towards everyone I meet. It’s a really intense feeling sometimes. I could see how it might feel supernatural, like it’s not even my love, but some immense, inexhaustible source. And really, how could I disagree with a school full of children who are encouraged to show each other love even when they fight and disagree?


7 Responses to “love everyone.”

  1. Grant says:

    This is a really great post, Danielle. Thanks for sharing this wonderful story.

    Have you seen Mr. Rogers defending PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to the US Senate in 1969?

    Your story reminded me a lot of that same message of love above all. As a friend of mine always says, “love wins.”

  2. danielle applestone says:

    i cry every time i see that Mr. Rogers Senate video!

  3. jeff says:

    yeah, mr rogers. damn. some people take this medium of TV and really transform it.

  4. eric says:

    It’s so true. I felt it in church two weeks ago—we’re all singing about the same thing! Music in particular has this amazing way of doing just that. All the details and surface meanings of all those lyrics melt away and all that’s left is musical meaning, which everyone understands and, more importantly, feels.

    And wow, that bit about bubbling love. A beautiful way to call it. Species love is real. It’s in our bones. It was an adaptation that moves life along on its way to wherever it is going…

  5. DiNA says:

    Dang, Shmeese, what a QTpi picture of Rhett! As you know, I work at an Episcopal school. I was very hesitant to take the position, for the same reasons you were hesitant to bring Rhett to a Lutheran school. When I was told that I would have chapel every day after lunch, my gut reaction was “there’s only so much fire and brimstone I can take.” It didn’t turn out like that, though. It is a great time to sit and reflect, and notice that the teachings of Jesus are mostly the same as the other prophets. The self inside everyone that connects to all others regardless of the superficial, that is what all the teachings of the prophets mean to me. Singling out any individual as the truth is still a wooly sweater for me; I would rather focus on the interconnectedness of them all.

    What a life. I’m glad that you are back and that you are happy. XOXO

  6. Alita says:

    Anas relates that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “None of you truly believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî and Sahîh Muslim]

  7. Alicia says:

    Thank you Danielle for sharing your love with us. And thanks to all of your loving friends that show their love to you. I am glad that you love and show your love so freely. I always enjoy all of your company. It takes love to make the world go around. To feel it so deeply to move us to show and share it. It is a powerful thing. It can get you thru anything in life. When you love you receive love in return. I am glad that I get to share with all of you.

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