Mother Teresa once said, “I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.” The Nobel Peace Prize recipient, and missionary nun, knew love is the key to happiness, success, and peace on Earth, if not within one’s self.
Society has certainly learned the hurt part very well. The love part? That’s debatable. For example, consider what’s been happening in Chicago. Over the Memorial Day weekend, 36 people from neighborhoods throughout the city sustained gunshot wounds. Six were killed. During May, 2012, there have been 43 homicides, mostly on the south side. There have been over 250 homicides in Chicago since June 2012.
So what will it take to make people realize Mother Teresa’s goal of unselfish love for one’s neighbor (if not yourself)? Enter the “Cube of Love.” Yep, you read right. There is a whole gang of love waiting to be unleashed on you… from a cube. It is a soft foam object about 5 inches across each side.
Each face presents a message of inspiration, hope, and love. Yes, it is small, but don’t be fooled. The cube is powerful. It can awaken the conscience, mend relationships.
Last November, at Life Directions’ annual “Salute Gala” in a swanky hall at Macy’s, it looked like a United Nations convention. The twenty or so large tables were filled with people of different ages, ethnic backgrounds, and experiences, each a distinct individual but each with something deep that unites them.
After a brief explanation of its purpose, the attendees at the Gala were asked to try rolling the Cube of Love. At one table, a Life Directions volunteer gave the Cube a toss. It rolled over and landed, displaying the message “Love your enemy.” Aren’t we always supposed to do that? And aren’t we all friends here? Well, this is where the power of the “Cube” comes in to play. Most attendees at the table did not know that the volunteer who rolled the Cube had an ongoing disagreement with someone else at the event. She knew that she was feeling the unresolved negative tension. After thinking for a moment about the message, she went to that person and reconciled with her.
This isn’t the only time the Cube has unleashed people’s inner prowess. At another Life Directions event, the Lawyer-Lend-A-Hand benefit, teens, elders, and young adults shared their past experiences. They rolled the Cube and began to acknowledge the power of love, and how it affects relationships with loved ones and the community. The most astounding reflection came from Todd Smith, an attorney. At the end of the event, he said he’s been supporting mentoring programs in Chicago for many years, but never felt as close to the younger people as he did that day.
Sometimes, the Cube of Love provides the catalyst to comfort someone in need and share words of hope. At the Values from the Vine Event, Life Directions’ annual recognition for business people who have given back to the community, an African-American banker shared his story of rising from a tough inner-city neighborhood to success in the corporate world. The event was held at Amor de Dios Church, the site of one of Life Directions’ Peaceable Gardens—an oasis of greenery and calm in the midst of the city that young people have created for their community. Students from nearby Farragut High School had been invited, but could not attend because of a recent drive-by shooting in the neighborhood that had left a six-year-old girl dead. Local authorities feared there would be retaliation at the high school, and so they had locked it down.
This did not deter the banker from walking over to the high school from the Garden. Given the students’ tension and anxiety, he decided to share with them his own harrowing life experiences, something he normally did not do. After a brief hesitation, he divulged tales of loneliness in his profession. He described how at many business meetings he is the only African America-banker, making him feel conspicuous. He also described the challenges he faced as a youth, and how he struggled to climb from his gritty surroundings to the top. People in his life had fallen short and disappointed him, but he offered words of empowerment to those facing similar issues. “You can never forget where you come from,” he said. “But, always remember to accept people that are different from you, too.”
So…What will it take to embrace Mother Teresa’s paradox? Will we just hurt? Or will we love until it hurts and so find only love? It’s your turn. Roll the Cube.
Side note: Check out WYCC’s Community Forward feature, which is scheduled to air on the PBS affiliate soon. The YouTube link is posted on Life Direction’s blog site.

Posted on 10/12/2017 at 12:30 PM