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Maybe this is a good moment to again explore the question: what does it mean to love?

It’s a tricky word, isn’t it? A beautiful word, but confusing, sometimes, I think. A lot of hurt and foolishness can parade in the name of love.

And yet, isn’t it still true—in the lyrics by Hal David and Burt Bacharach—that:

What the world needs now, is love, sweet, love,

That’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.

What the world needs now, is love, sweet love,

No not just for some, but for everyone.

(Everyone? Really? Even that jerk who…) Ah, there’s the rub. As good old Charlie Brown says, “It’s easy to love the world, it’s the guy next door I can’t stand.”

In the guest post last Thursday (see below), Landon Saunders talked about sitting with a  a 13-year-old boy who had been mercilessly beaten by his father.

Speaking of this moment, Landon said, “What he feels in my touch, what he sees in my eyes, what he hears in the tone of my voice will either fully acknowledge his sense of worth and dignity as a human being…or in his heart he will wish I would just leave.”

He added, “How we are present with those in pain either creates solidarity or deepens alienation. How we sit with another can be healing, or the wounded might simply wish we would leave.”

I’ll confess, those words stopped me—made me question my own life. But then I thought, it’s good to know that even in my 70s there’s still much to learn about love!

Thinking of love in this way—as a way of being present that quietly and fully acknowledges the other person’s worth and dignity as a human being—maybe love really is what it’s all about. I leave you with the lyrics of another song by Hal David and Burt Bacharach:

What’s it all about, Alfie,

Is it just for the moment we live?

What’s it all about when you sort it out, Alfie,

Are we meant to take more than we give?

Or, are we meant to be kind.

And if only fools are kind, Alfie,

Then I guess it is wise to be cruel;

And if life belongs only to the strong, Alfie,

What will you lend on an old golden rule?

As sure as I believe there’s a heaven above, Alfie,

I know there’s something much more,

Something even unbelievers can believe in.

I believe in love, Alfie,

Without true love we just exist, Alfie,

Until you find the love you’ve missed, you’re nothing, Alfie.

When you walk, let your heart lead the way

And you’ll find love every day … Alfie.