Upon reciting the nation’s pledge of allegiance, have you ever considered the significance of the phrase “one people, united in love and service”?
When Rev. Philip Rahming penned these words, his decision to set love before service was as simplistic as it was profound, because adopting a consciousness of service toward a fellow Bahamian requires love.
Bahamians spend countless hours and years debating and pontificating about what is needed to advance our country when love — one of the primary answers — is perhaps thought of as too simple to be placed atop our agendas or social dialog.
There is very little we can accomplish as a nation if we are pulling it apart at the seams through hatred, division and the idea that some Bahamians are more worthwhile and valuable than others depending on their race, social and political connections, financial status or pedigree.
It starts with learning to love oneself and to honor one’s uniqueness, which in turn enables a person to honor the individuality and uniqueness of others.
Without love for one another, we will continue to sit by quietly and idly as our neighbors suffer, as children are violated, as the underprivileged are exploited and as the vulnerable are left to fight battles they are incapable of winning.
Without love for one another, we won’t lend a hand to someone who is struggling and is in need of compassion, patience and someone to care enough about their potential and willingness to succeed to see past their shortcomings and mistakes.
Without love for one another, petty crimes and violent crimes become the order of the day, because we do not value another person’s humanity enough to understand that whether we lie, cheat, steal or kill, someone else’s world will become less safe and someone’s life will be forever changed.
Without love for one another, we will not appreciate that if one Bahamian is hurt or violated, we all have suffered an injustice and have become collectively injured by the wounds that another Bahamian has suffered.
“One Bahamas” is just a slogan if Bahamians are not encouraged to discover a place in their heart, homes and communities where what you have, what you look like or what you are affiliated with are not the yardsticks that should be used to determine how you ought to be treated.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Love is the most durable power in the world.”
If we will have built an economy, buildings and infrastructure durable enough to withstand the forces of nature, but our families, workplaces, communities and political organizations are unsteadied by enmity, bitterness and isolationism, how strong a nation would we truly have?
The most masterful of human inventions must have a durable foundation, and as Bahamians grapple with all that is before us, we both individually and collectively need to consider what quality of foundation is beneath us as a people.
We have spoken on several occasions in this space about the need for unity because of its indispensability in forming the kind of Bahamas so many have fought for and continue to work toward.
That essential oneness is made possible through self-love, love for one another and love of country.
Greater numbers of us as Bahamians meantime, ought to get to a place of doing good for one another for its own sake, and not only on special occasions or in an attempt to gain popularity.
Doing good for one another not only builds stronger families and communities, but also improves one’s personal health and leads to personal happiness, according to numerous scientific studies.
Wouldn’t it be a joy to see happier Bahamians, who feel good about life and their quality of life?
As people across the length and breadth of the country celebrate Valentines Day — a day of love — we encourage everyone to start to see the keys to a better Bahamas that rest within each of us.
Love is what we need.