“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” ~Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Love. Love. Love. It is a word that I love to hear and it is a word I love to say. I am constantly telling my family and friends I love them. If I love you, I love you and there is nothing you can do about.
For me, love is a verb. An action. I show you I love you by my actions and vice versa. It could be as simple as taking a few minutes out of my day to give you a call or send you an encouraging text. Or it could be as extravagant as driving hours to spend time with you or surprise you at an event. I love loving folks and I love being loved.
When I hear the word my mind often drifts off to thoughts of great memories and moments in time that I relive in my head. When I hear the word, I immediately think of a plethora of scriptures, quotes and songs above love. When I hear the word, it makes me smile. Love is all around us. You see it in relationships, friendships, on the job, at the store, through random acts of kindness, the list goes on.
Love is the driving force behind why I do what I do. It’s why I strive daily to offer up words of encouragement. It’s why I face challenges head on to prove to others we are all more than conquerors. It’s why I am not afraid to use my voice to tackle the difficult topics.
With the abundance of love in the world, it is unsettling that it is constantly overshadowed, in the news, on a daily basis with so many stories of anger, rage and hate. Homicides, hate crimes, animal cruelty, attempted murders, police brutality, the list goes on. Why is all of this happening? What happened for things to become so ugly? Why have so many people decided being evil is a burden they wish to bear?
I have asked myself these questions many times. In my opinion, it boils down to two things: the absence of God in peoples’ lives and the lack of love. I know there are many who may not agree with my first assessment and I am not here to debate God’s existence. You either believe in Him or you don’t.. My belief in Him leads me to live a life rooted in love. Sure, I get angry sometimes but that anger is quickly quelled by the overwhelmingly love I feel from God as well as those who love me.
The absence or lack of love in one’s life can lead people to do the most unimaginable things. It can lead people to take their own lives. It can lead them into deep holes of depression. It can lead them to take the lives of others. After hearing certain stories, I often sit and wonder where these people may be lacking in love. There can be a lack of love for oneself. There can be a lack of love for a certain race. There can be a lack of love for life in general.
No, love will not ensure all these tragedies cease but I do think love can aid in preventing a lot of the calamities we are faced with today. With love, comes the need to want to understand. The people I love, I actively pursue a relationship of understanding. I want to know what makes them happy, what upsets them, what makes them sad, what brings them joy, what insecurities they possess and what obstacles they want to overcome. Understanding these things aid in building a relationship where trust and honesty can abound.
My right now theory is that if we would be willing to use some of our precious time to understand those we claim to love as well as the folks around us, we can put a major dent in some of the ugliness of the world.
Just think about it. All around us there are people who are yearning to have someone listen and help them create a plan of action to make sense of things. Just think about it. How many hate crimes could have been prevented if the perpetrators were willing to sit down, have conversations with those that they hate and figure out how to begin actively living a life opposite of the one they’d constructed? How many unarmed black males and females would still be alive if more police officers were willing to understand why so many black people fear them and worked towards reversing these fears? How uncrowded would our prisons be if someone took the time to lead these offenders down a path of promise with care, concern and belief?
Love. Love. Love. Again, it is not the answer for everything that is wrong in this world but how do we know it is not the answer for some things if we do not put this verb into action. I would love for us all to take some advice from The O’Jays …“People all over the world, join hands, start a love train, love train.” If we can get a love movement going, I know we can make a difference. Actions speak louder than words. What do yours say about you?
Kassaundra Shanette Lockhart is a freelance writer.
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