On last week’s Friday List, I included the story tweeted by Annie Q. Syed about a couple she met on the subway celebrating their 69th wedding anniversary. Her account of their meeting is touching and funny and sweet and inspiring. At one point, the husband, asked why so many relationships fail these days, says, “You gotta DO something with love. Love DOES.”
I think we too often don’t believe this. We get it into our heads that people should prove they love us. We withhold love so that when others initiate contact we will be reassured; we’ll know it’s safe to love back. “This one loves me enough to call me,” we tell ourselves, and we don’t think about how the test we just made them pass says far more about us than it does about them.
We get mad and brood. “If they loved me,” we say, “they would notice how angry I am and fix it.” Even more sad and ridiculous, “If they loved me, I wouldn’t even have to tell them what’s wrong. They’d know.”
We wait for love to happen to us. We wait for someone to see past our defenses. We act childish (and worse) because we believe that people who really love us will see how wonderful we are underneath, behind all the shit and slights and heartaches we’ve collected in our lives and arranged around our hearts like battlements. Real love, we think, will be undeterred by our barriers.
But, of course, that is bullshit. All that waiting and testing and calculating and hiding behind past hurts does is make us lonely.
I have become such a believer in action. I understand there are times when it’s a good idea to wait (pause, plan, dream, even stew and pine), but those times are rarer than we think.
The Love Project is all about doing. You can’t passively spread the love. You can’t connect without reaching out, or forge daring new paths without moving. Real love is not a thing that happens to us in spite of ourselves, it happens because of ourselves. We make it – the possibility for real love – every day, every interaction, every generous impulse acted upon.
Because, in the end, it’s true. Love is the best, easiest, hardest, craziest thing in the world. It’s fragile and fleeting and lasting and strong. It holds us together and breaks us apart, and above all else, love DOES.