In the End, There is Only Love

When I read Gretchen Rubin‘s The Happiness Project for the first time a couple years ago, I was struck by her commandments for herself. I’ve gone back to that book over and over, each time gleaning something new. But every time I read it, I am struck again by the power of her final commandment: There is only love.

I’ve been thinking a great deal about this phrase over the last few days, as love has been in some ways harder to find. As we enter the last two days of the election season, the anxiety, hostility, and vitriol ramp up. It feels as though lives are literally on the line — because they are. Seeing the brutality at Standing Rock continues to break my heart and test my belief in the inherent goodness of humanity. Taking on exclusionary and bigotry in my Goddess community exhausts me and saddens me and angers me all at once. I’m finding myself tired, and on the brink of losing hope in a better future, far more often these days than I like to acknowledge or admit.

In the end, there is only love, I attempt to tell myself. In the end, love is what endures. It is what outlasts us when we leave, when our time on this earth is done. And in the end, it is love that sustains us. In the end, there is only love.

I was thinking about this today as I drove through a rainy Texas afternoon to officiate a wedding in a small town about 45 minutes from my apartment. Two friends were uniting in marriage, taking vows of love and commitment in front of their family and community, and I was blessed enough to be asked to be part of it. In the midst of such a hard time for our nation, for our spiritual community, for our planet, this was a celebration of love. And the love in the wedding grove was palpable — between these two young people, among the gathered friends and family.

In the end, there is only love.

Then, on the drive home, I happened to pull a forgotten CD out of my CD wallet. (Yes, I still play CDs in my car.) It was Steve Earle’s Jerusalem, an album I played in heavy rotation when it came out not long before the eruption of the second Iraq War. I’ve always loved this record, but had forgotten that it was one of the CDs I grabbed when I left my ex-husband’s home nearly 8 years ago. But today my hand found it, and slid it into the CD player of my car.

The title track — the last track on the album — hit me like a freight train in the chest. It’s always resonated with me, but today…today I needed this song. I needed its message. Because its message is that…in the end, if we believe, there is only love


I woke up this morning, and none of the news was good
Death machines were rumblin’ ‘cross the ground where Jesus stood
And the man on my TV told me that it had always been that way
And there was nothing anyone could do or say

And I almost listened to him
Yeah, I almost lost my mind
And I regained my senses again
Looked into my heart to find

That I believe that one fine day all the children of Abraham
Will lay down their swords forever in Jerusalem

Well maybe I’m only dreamin’ and maybe I’m just a fool
But I don’t remember learnin’ how to hate in Sunday school
Somewhere along the way I strayed and I never looked back again
But I still find some comfort now and then

Then the storm comes rumblin’ in
And I can’t lay me down
And the drums are drummin’ again
And I can’t stand the sound

But I believe there’ll come a day when the lion and the lamb
Will lie down in peace together in Jerusalem

And there’ll be no barricades then
There’ll be no wire or walls
And we can wash all this blood from our hands
And all this hatred from our souls

And I believe that on that day all the children of Abraham
Will lay down their swords forever in Jerusalem


About dreamingpriestess

Susan Harper, Ph.D., aka The Dreaming Priestess, is an educator, activist, advocate, and ritual specialist living and working in the Dallas, Texas area.
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