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The Beginning of the LOFE Story

Perplexities occupy my thoughts when I consider the greatest commandment, to love God with all my heart, all my soul, all my strength, and all my mind; and my neighbor as myself. I spent significant time comprehending these words' depth before exploring this idea of looking out for everybody (LOFE).

By EMMANUEL MILLER

Perplexities occupy my thoughts when I consider the greatest commandment, to love God with all my heart, all my soul, all my strength, and all my mind; and my neighbor as myself. I spent significant time comprehending these words' depth before exploring this idea of looking out for everybody (LOFE). In this, I've learned that new discoveries will be revealed to me in time. Nonetheless, through my life story, observations of my surroundings, and continuous knowledge accumulation and exploration, I derived insight for applying such words to myself and the people around me. It is from this place that the LOFE story came to life.

My journey started on the heels of the murder of George Floyd. The agony I experienced from this event was different from any other, leading me to consider my personal life story and profoundly question the greatest commandment. I became acutely aware of myself, wondering in words similar to those W.E.B Du Bois used to describe a black boy's strife, "Why did God make me an outcast and a stranger in mine own house?" In tears, I meditated on this thought. Questioning my entire existence, knowing that no matter what I do, my skin condemns me. Recounting what James Baldwin wrote to his nephew and making them my own, that I too was "born into a society which spelled out with brutal clarity, in as many ways as possible, that [I am] a worthless human being."

Nevertheless, the opposing frustration I experienced internally combated with this notion. I know I'm worthy; I'm made in the image of God. This awareness, amongst other things, caused me to become exhausted with my occupational efforts, as I no longer understood what I represented as the only Black person in my role. The expectation of professionalism combined with assimilating into the broader culture was an act I could no longer justify. I'm grateful for my ancestor's progress in the fight for equality. This writing in public form is evidence of the foundation I stand on. However, I'm from God. So is every other person made in God's image. My ancestors were made like God, George Floyd was made like God, and God's standard is above that created by human beings that see my culture and personhood as less than.

Many walls in this world were created without the perspective of my skin folk. I have much hate against the unrighteousness purposefully distributed to us. Yet, I'm unable to change history. I also have little time to sulk on the past but knowing it allows me to impact the future and create a new narrative. In my resolve, I have one principle to follow: to love God with all my heart, all my soul, all my strength, and all my mind; and my neighbor as myself. I see loving God as loving what God loves most, people. Loving myself is embracing all of me, and it started with me no longer hating myself every day by putting on an act for a check. Loving my neighbor the way I want to be loved, as I am, is what inspired LOFE to become a reality.

LOFE is a community that delivers beautiful stories through the arts of music, writing, film, and fashion. Every day is an opportunity to learn something new about the world, yourself, and your neighbors. It is also another chance to live the truth God calls us to, which is to love people. However, loving people is hard work, and I cannot look out for everybody personally, but I can convey a message that gets people to think and see differently.

The people I do look out for are costly. They include my personal family and friends I've partnered with to bring the LOFE story to life. It's expensive to take care of ourselves, so we ain't cheap and what we sell is worth its value. I'll share the LOFE family's stories, amongst others, in due time because their lives matter immensely to me. The world will know my people.

We are creating a new foundation for ourselves, our families and encourage others to do the same. Share the stories we produce and buy what we are selling. Learn to love yourself, embracing all of you and other people different from yourself so that we can all do what is greatest. We have much work to do, and this is only the beginning.