Love is our value proposition.
This idea was presented in the waning moments of an hour long lecture on the state of affairs in my profession. There were more numbers and percentages and dire situations presented than I could keep up with, and I can keep up with a lot. It was a discussion intended to wake up professionals serving people with disabilities to some realities that happen so far above the ground level work we are so furiously engaged in that it can be and usually is invisible to us, even though we are swimming in the murky waters he described.
But this isn’t about how this relates to my work. Not solely at least. What first caught me was the way he spoke about the troubling horizon we could see. He spoke honestly and forthrightly and it clearly is causing fear on some level. But he didn’t stop there. He pivoted to hope. Earnest, honest, sincere hope.
This type of sincerity is brave. To speak honestly about that which is most under served, our vast potential to provide love in a sincere way is a show of vulnerability. It’s an honest acknowledgement of something so obvious but so unspoken: we all need love. It is crucial to well being. It is vital to having meaning and a sense of purpose. I think it might be the antidote in fact to all the roiling, free-floating rage that seems to be polluting our skies and sullying our connections to each other, ourselves and anything approaching the sublime.
There is a severe lack of sincere expressions of love and of need. There is an overabundance of hate and insecurity, masked in anger. We have come to define ourselves solely by what we are not. Well, the antidote is to stand bravely, remove our reinforced armor, one piece at a time and stand up and say what is true. I need love. I need to give love and receive it. I need to understand that my most daunting, most feared rival needs the same. We are all in this together and we need to love each other. We need to get comfortable with the thought that we all have needs and they all require others. It is not weak to need love, it is strong to say it. To stand bravely and risk embarrassment and shame and try to say our truth. We are all of us alone if we choose to reinforce layers and layers of defenses. We are failing ourselves and each other if the love we share and hold and hide in our homes and with our families isn’t a seed we take out into the world and try to plant in the minds and hearts and souls of others. In fact we will lose what little we have if we attempt to put walls around it and bind it and keep it from the rest of the world, who needs it so badly.