As I walked in, I could hear the conversation. Four men discussing love, its virtues and implications. This went on for a few minutes until the oldest of the group spoke up, “I can’t believe that four men are discussing love on a Friday night. What’s wrong with us?” Quickly and without hesitation a bystander, who was listening casually to this open conversation said, “More like what is RIGHT with you. Is there anything more meaningful and powerful to discuss than love? I can guarantee you, at this moment, there are four men somewhere discussing hate and not one of them sees something wrong with it. Keep discussing love.” The bystander was generally dismissed by three of the four in the discussion, but that fourth couldn’t help but nod and agree.
As I sat down and reflected on this exchange, I couldn’t help but think, “what have we done to love?” Why have we stigmatized it as a trite emotion that is used frequently without meaning or that it has become this cheesy “girlie” emotion that “real men” can’t identify with as valuable and substantive? What have we done to the most powerful and inspiring of emotions? I began to think and believe that modern society and stereotypes have attempted to systematically and incrementally turn love into a 4-letter word. This isn’t a recent development, but one that has been taking place over a few generations. What we are dealing with is the devaluation and distortion of love.
While our cameras and minds are constantly transfixed on hate, bitterness, and negativity; love has become boring. When we think of love, we picture candy hearts, momentary feelings that lead to physical collision, vapid insincerity, and some ethereal concept that has no real place in the practical world.
The reality, LOVE is the greatest power that humanity has and at its core is realness, integrity, loyalty, and all the positive energy that is needed to overcome and heal. To say you love means that you display it with action. Love isn’t just a feeling, it is action. Love isn’t just a word, it is action. It is the impetus of kindness, the genesis of sacrifice, and the foundation of trust. To bring greater love into this world is to begin to address the complex problems that we consistently face. It is the process by which we will begin to heal a divided and wounded nation and ourselves. LOVE IS THE ANSWER.
I’m not talking about someone else loving, I’m talking about me. I need to love on a greater basis. Person to person in a daily walk to be the person I want to be. I struggle with this as sometimes the stigma that has been given to this most powerful of connections makes me shy away from being overtly loving and forces me into a cage of sarcastic humor that sometimes is good to those that understand and appreciate it. However this is not good for all. My heart’s desire is for everyone who comes into my 20 square feet of influence to feel loved and SEE that by my ACTIONS I love them. I strive to RISE above and influence and inspire this world with LOVE. This can only be done one interaction at a time. Without love, nothing great can take place. Without love, there is no hope. Without love, there is no RISE. If I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am and have nothing.