Sound Bite: Action, not feeling

This Sound Bite is from Jason Segedy’s chapter, “Why Bother?  Musings on Faith, Hope and Love.”  If you want to read more (and of course, of course you do), get your hands on the whole book here.


How does love fit into the work we do in our communities, into the challenge of unpleasant politics, fearful bosses, a misunderstanding public? How does love fit into learning that tough art of perseverance?

In a couple of ways, I think.

First, recognizing that love is, at its essence, an action, rather than a feeling, gives me enormous comfort.  It reminds me that I don’t always need to feel incredibly fond of someone to try to do right by them, or to treat them the way that I would like to be treated.

As with faith and hope, we have this recurrent theme: we make a conscious choice to think, and then act, in a certain way, despite what our feelings, emotions, and moods may be telling us.

I don’t need to deceive myself, or summon up artificial feelings of fondness for someone or some place for whom I feel no such thing.  Instead, I have to do something that is much easier, and much harder:  offer my help and assistance where I am able, and treat the people and places around me with dignity and respect.

That’s easier because I don’t have to pretend that I feel something that I do not.  It’s harder because I have to do something that does not come naturally.  I’d much rather stick to being nice just to the people that I like.

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