This beautiful and funny passage is from Jason Segedy’s piece “Why Bother? Musings on Faith, Hope and Love” from Why This Work Matters. To see why he thinks love has anything to do with this work, check out the book in digital or print. All will be explained, I promise.
Nearly everyone thinks that love is important, at least outside the office. Love doesn’t carry nearly the baggage that faith or hope does. Even a confirmed cynic can at least occasionally get themselves behind love.
But love is one of those unfortunate English words that means a lot of different things, depending on the context.
I love my wife. I love my job. I love my city. I love music. I love pizza. See the problem?
There are a couple of problems, actually. For one, I certainly do not love pizza in the same way that I love my wife (much to the benefit of our marriage, I assure you). For another, the word “love” in all of these contexts is basically a synonym for “I have a fondness for.” But we already have lots of words to express that feeling.
So, what is love? First and foremost, love isn’t primarily a feeling at all. It is an action.
Second, (pizza notwithstanding), love is about people, and the relationships between them. Love is about wanting what is best for another person, and acting upon it, regardless of how you feel about them emotionally. It’s about treating other people the way that you would like to be treated.
Nearly everyone knows this already. It’s one of those many things so easy to say, and so very hard to do.
Especially for me.
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?