The Miracle of Love
For, perhaps — perhaps — between now and the last day, something wonderful will happen, a miracle, a miracle of coherence and release. And the miracle on which one’s unsteady attention is focused is always the same, however it may be stated, or however it may remain unstated. It is the miracle of love, love strong enough to guide or drive one into the great estate of maturity, or, to put it another way, into the apprehension and acceptance of one’s own identity. For some deep and ineradicable instinct — I believe — causes us to know that it is only this passionate achievement which can outlast death, which can cause life to spring from death.
But if one can reach back, reach down — into oneself, into one’s life — and find there some witness, however unexpected or ambivalent, to one’s reality, one will be enabled, though perhaps not very spiritedly, to face another day… What one must be enabled to recognize, at four o’clock in the morning, is that one has no right, at least not for reasons of private anguish, to take one’s life. All lives are connected to other lives and when one man goes, much more goes than the man goes with him. One has to look on oneself as the custodian of a quantity and a quality — oneself — which is absolutely unique in the world because it has never been here before and will never be here again.
Baldwin — whom U.S. Poet Laureate Gwendolyn Brooks described as “love personified” in introducing his last public appearance
before his death — wedges into this foundational structure of
soul-survival the fact that in a culture of habitual separation and
institutionalized otherness, such self-regard is immensely difficult.
And yet, he insists with the passion of one who has proven the truth of
his words with his own life, we must try — we must reach across the
divides within and without, across the abysses of terror and suspicion,
with a generous and largehearted trust in one another, which is at
bottom trust in ourselves. READ MORE