When You’re the Loved One: responding to privilege with responsibility


I can count a handful of times in my life that I’ve felt truly unloved.

From what I’ve known of it, it is a deep hole, a penetrating wound that aches in you and eats at you until you can find something that will take you out or away, or at least distract you for a while.

But most of my life, I’ve been a loved one–

my mom and I are close, and with my husband’s family I have found so much comfort in their acceptance of who I am as an extra daughter and sister;

I have always had a church family to sustain and support my family;

I’ve been cared for.

And for my people-pleasing and people-helping tendencies, it is good, of course.

So I am privileged in this realm of my life, but that also means I’ve got a responsibility.

There is a difference between FEELING loved and BEING loved, and I’d say that while people are loved, they don’t always feel it, and after a while, they’re convinced that they were never loved in the first place. 

And so that’s where the privileged voices must step in.

If I have an abundance of something, I share it, I give out of that space of plenty.

And so with love, with this deep well, those of us who are privileged to have it and know it must ask ourselves what we’re doing with that privilege.

We become the reminder, the whispered word, the written letter of hope to someone’s dying heart.

And with any good gift, it is better shared in quiet good, in graceful humility.

So it comes to choice-

who will you advocate for?

who will you choose to give love to, who will you remind that they mean something sacred to the world?

or what other form of creation needs your attention today, is found neglected and left uncared for?


A Native American reservation and others around the area in North Dakota have been threatened by a pipeline, and some voices have gathered there for days and days to speak, to share, to grieve, to hope, for the people who risk being arrested because they are using their voices to protect something holy to them.

Some of them are Native American, and others are not– they gather in solidarity to say, “We’ve seen the ways you’ve not been loved, and we are here to say that you matter to us.”


There is a refugee seeking community down the road,

or a familiar face that needs to tell you their story.

There is a homeless teen wandering downtown,

a mother who has just lost a child,

a grandfather who is struggling with easing into retirement smoothly.

And while love exists, breathes and moves and has its being,

we have the tools to speak it– to make it tangible and real and felt.

And so, we choose wisely and with compassion, with a heart that knows what it has meant at one time or another to feel unloved.

And so we move out of that space, and we breathe hope, and we ease another person back into the light of the day, back where the sun meets their face and calls them loved again,

and again,

and again,

and again.