One of my Facebook friends has recently been posting photographs of hearts and representations of love, randomly found on sidewalks, grafitti-covered walls, wherever. I find this particularly uplifting, not only because I subscribe to the message, but also because this documentarian of love is not what I would describe as “touchy feely” or very emotionally driven.
Seeing the most recent heart appear in my newsfeed — amidst 10 things the Rebuplicans don’t want you to know about Paul Ryan, how the Texas A&M shooter was known to be mentally unstable but bought arms on the Internet anyway, and the idiot journalist who asked Secretary of State Hillary Clinton what fashion designers she wears — forces me to reflect on the messages I choose to disseminate.
I started this blog to give voice to my (and others’) thoughts amidst a growing feeling of invisibility in our wealth-, youth-, and beauty-driven culture. Add misogyny and mean-spiritedness to my complaints about what I see propagated in American mass media. Yet I don’t choose to focus on these negative aspects of our culture as I move through my daily life. And I don’t want my blog to inappropriately tilt toward depressing news and commentary. I live for love and beauty (in its vastness and diversity, not as defined by the U.S. media), but I often end up complaining about something I’ve read, because I feel I have something valid to contribute to the discussion and I want to encourage further dialogue.
How to balance my writing without blinding myself to realities or presenting a Pollyanna-ish perspective becomes my biggest challenge. Especially as (perhaps unfounded) fear stirs within me: what if Romney/Ryan were actually elected? Cluelessness, entitlement, and greed yet again? (I already survived the Reagan years, thank you very much.)
Then I am reminded — with a heart, or a hug, or a smile — of our communal nature in the animal world. We shrivel up without love and become twisted ego-centric versions of humanity. Without love we feel isolated, silenced, unimportant, and we express our pain in unloving ways, punishing others to feel similarly. We need each other’s caring and acknowledgement, in some cases for our own survival. Love crosses all boundaries of state or religion. Love thy neighbor is not just a Christian message, although some Christians would pretend to have the corner on that market.
John, Paul, George, and Ringo may have been youthfully ignorant when they intoned “All you need is love,” but it should be up there with food and shelter as basic necessities for survival.
I’m taking a cue from my Facebook friend and sharing the love. I hope you will, too.