A word (or several hundred) on love
It might be the most powerful force on the planet. It can move mountains, break down walls, make peace, save lives, topple dictatorships, create new life – and support that new life.
It’s an incredible, magical thing.
It’s free, and it’s in short supply these days.
I see it everywhere I go.
Although, I must say that since everywhere is closed down the only places I go are to stores to shop for Christmas and other holiday goodies and to restaurants to pick stuff up. I meet people that I interview for stories in my journalistic life and I meet people working out at the outdoor gym near my home in Pointe Claire.
Here’s what I’m seeing: the combination of living in a bubble, masks between us and others in the public sphere, the absence of social time and time with cherished loved ones, the stress and monotony of working from home, living at home and playing at home has started to make people a little angry. That cushion of love, as it were, that was holding families together and protecting them against the slings and arrows of the world, has been stripped away by nine months of some level of forced togetherness.
That love of family, that used to radiate outward into the community, has dissipated and hasn't really been replaced in the public sphere. The lockdown and pandemic has sharpened the focus for some on that aspect of their lives in a wonderful way, and sent people looking for the warm glow of love and affection, some with more success than others. For instance, a friend of mine has reconnected with a woman he knew from youth sports growing up and has forged himself ‘something a little bit special,’ despite the woman being sort of a smartass, I’m told – but successful and lasting love is tough for many others to find these days. You know the kind. The kind of love you write poetry about. The kind terrible romantic comedies, and worse Nicolas Cage movies, are made about or the kind 19th-century literature so beautifully encompassed underneath the veneer of good manners and social graces.
Everybody wants it, dude. But love can be lots of little sacrifices, and a few large ones. Love worth writing songs about takes the kind of work, changes, introspection and compromise they don’t mention in the chorus.
It’s hard. It’s messy. It can be awful and heart-wrenching and demanding and exhilarating, and it can truly be all of those things all in the same evening sometimes.
It can – and often does – mean swallowing one’s pride, knowing that the object of one’s affections require something different to be happy. And I have a lot of silly male pride at times, so I’ve tried like hell to drop that proud veneer and accept what the world has planned for me.
As long as that doesn’t involve eating cheese. No, thank you. I’m good. Seriously.
Lately, I’ve taken to saying ‘be the change you want to see in the world,’ and I’ve tried to be more loving in the way I go about my job, my responsibilities and my parenting life. It isn’t always easy – if you’ve been with me when someone is going too slow in the left lane you can understand those words I’m uttering at airplane-engine decibel levels aren’t compliments on the other driver’s driving skills – but I’m trying.
I try to use kinder language with my poor kids, who are really suffering the most in all this – but I think if there’s one thing I would love to hear more of this holiday season, it’s about love. Not about vaccines. Not about elections, or orange manbabies, or jealousy, or hurt, or pain – but about love. About how this year, more than most, was all about love.
I can’t promise that’s what I’ll see. I can’t promise that’s what I’ll hear. But dammit, we gotta start somewhere. I think, that when I’m waiting in lines while Christmas shopping next weekend I won’t maybe be quite so loving, but I’ll try – and I would hope one of my kind readers would be so kind as to kindly remind me – in a loving way.
Love each other. Try hard. It’s worth it.
Love is worth it.