On last week’s Friday List, I included the story tweeted by Annie Q. Syed about a couple she met on the subway celebrating their 69th wedding anniversary. Her account of their meeting is touching and funny and sweet and inspiring. At one point, the husband, asked why so many relationships fail these days, says, “You gotta DO something with love. Love DOES.”

Love DOES.

I think we too often don’t believe this. We get it into our heads that people should prove they love us. We withhold love so that when others initiate contact we will be reassured; we’ll know it’s safe to love back. “This one loves me enough to call me,” we tell ourselves, and we don’t think about how the test we just made them pass says far more about us than it does about them.

We get mad and brood. “If they loved me,” we say, “they would notice how angry I am and fix it.” Even more sad and ridiculous, “If they loved me, I wouldn’t even have to tell them what’s wrong. They’d know.”

We wait for love to happen to us. We wait for someone to see past our defenses. We act childish (and worse) because we believe that people who really love us will see how wonderful we are underneath, behind all the shit and slights and heartaches we’ve collected in our lives and arranged around our hearts like battlements. Real love, we think, will be undeterred by our barriers.

But, of course, that is bullshit. All that waiting and testing and calculating and hiding behind past hurts does is make us lonely.

I have become such a believer in action. I understand there are times when it’s a good idea to wait (pause, plan, dream, even stew and pine), but those times are rarer than we think.

The Love Project is all about doing. You can’t passively spread the love. You can’t connect without reaching out, or forge daring new paths without moving. Real love is not a thing that happens to us in spite of ourselves, it happens because of ourselves. We make it – the possibility for real love – every day, every interaction, every generous impulse acted upon.

Because, in the end, it’s true. Love is the best, easiest, hardest, craziest thing in the world. It’s fragile and fleeting and lasting and strong. It holds us together and breaks us apart, and above all else, love DOES.


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36 Responses to Love DOES

  1. Rita January 23, 2011 at 11:01 pm #

    Damn right it does! I love this! I will share it on my twitter and my facebook and anywhere else I can. this is fantastic1 I was just speaking to a friend about what was next in your project and now I know. Love DOES! I have taken the button and added it to my brand spanking new redesigned blog (come see come see!) Thank you J! I feel as though I have found my fellow messenger in Love. You are amazing! I am ever so grateful to have found you! Thank you for being you! xoxoxo

    • j January 24, 2011 at 7:59 am #

      I think there might be nothing better than to be thanked for being one’s self. I’m all grins! Thank you back, and your new blog design is super cool, especially the banner, which is fun and sexy and playful. Love that!

  2. Michael January 23, 2011 at 11:50 pm #

    Love. This. ~ “Real love is not a thing that happens to us in spite of ourselves, it happens because of ourselves. We make it – the possibility for real love – every day, every interaction, every generous impulse acted upon.” Love is all good as a noun, but it works best as a verb. Badge adopted.

    • j January 24, 2011 at 8:00 am #

      I know. Although, technically, in the sentence “love does…”

      You were my first proud badge wearer. I think there should be a prize. Hmmm… Thinking… (Be afraid.)

  3. Joanne Ludlow Firth January 24, 2011 at 12:30 am #

    I second what Michael said, including “badge adopted”.

    • j January 24, 2011 at 8:01 am #


  4. jane, candid January 24, 2011 at 5:20 am #

    ‘It’s fragile and fleeting and lasting and strong.” Is it too cliche to say I love that?
    Badge is brightening my space.

    • j January 24, 2011 at 8:02 am #

      Sentences directed at me that start with “I love” are never too cliche. Thank you for posting the badge! You rock!

  5. jb January 24, 2011 at 6:50 am #

    Love is verb – is what popped into my head right from the start of your post. Michael beat me too it, but it’s worth repeating. :-)

    Thanks for reminding us, J. I’m envisioning all us Love Project people with red capes flowing behind us as we strike our heroic action pose. We are Love Project superheros – in a world where anyone can have love superpowers if they try. :-)

    • j January 24, 2011 at 8:02 am #

      “Everyone can have love superpowers if they try.” Exactly. (If I’d written that this post would have been so much shorter! <3

  6. lunaJune January 24, 2011 at 6:50 am #

    I love the badge :~)
    flying from the sky
    and now flying on my sky too

    I love when life offers you what you need when you need it if you open your eyes and heart to see it… not 10 minutes before I came online I was thinking about love and how much I have of it…I may not have ‘him’ but man oh man I’m swimming in love…and for a moment sometimes it’s not enough :~( but then I came online and find the words that remind me again and again :~)

    … behind all the shit and slights and heartaches we’ve collected in our lives and arranged around our hearts like battlements…..

    such true words…the pain we inflict upon ourselves….all from fear

    so thanks for the badge… I love the way your hair flows in the sky
    makes me smile :~)

    • j January 24, 2011 at 8:04 am #

      I designed (and by design I mean doodled) 6 different badges. The others were far more polished and sort of professional looking. I showed the badges to the guys I live with and they all immediately picked this one. “That’s you,” they said, and they were right. :-)

  7. Lance January 24, 2011 at 7:40 am #

    I feel like crap, I’m depressed, and I didn’t sleep. I came here and read. Thanks for making me feel better for five minutes.

    • j January 24, 2011 at 8:04 am #

      *hug* (Thank you for commenting even when you feel yucky.)

  8. Caroline January 24, 2011 at 8:21 am #

    Love this. Amazing how you so often post exactly what I need read, when I need to read it. Another one of your super powers I think. :) xxoo Yay J! And thank you.

    • j January 24, 2011 at 4:36 pm #

      Awww, thank you, Caroline. I was so struck by how wrong many of us get this. When he said you have to DO something with love, I thought, yes! I wrote this post wondering who would read it and see themselves. I see this happen so often. I’ve been guilty of it myself. Waiting so as not to be the one who always contacts first, being angry at someone who didn’t notice I was hurt, or feeling lonely but unwilling to reach out… I definitely wrote the post seeing all my own mistakes and vowing not to make them any more.

      If I want a year of fearless love, I better make some. ;-)

  9. Tricia January 24, 2011 at 11:22 am #

    I now gots me a love badge.

    • j January 24, 2011 at 4:37 pm #

      And it looks lovely on you! Thank you!

  10. Meg Sweeney January 24, 2011 at 12:17 pm #

    I think I heard from some smart person “Love brings up everything unlike itself.” In that sense, yes, defenses fly up in the face of love, and all of our limitations on what love should be fly mockingly in its face. It is sometimes painful for me to leave the doors of love open, but I am trying. In my measly effort to hold open these doors, open against the windy storms that try to closed them, I can say I am in your love army. I will practice marching next week.

    • j January 24, 2011 at 4:39 pm #

      I think any attempt at loving more – more openly, more honestly, more fiercely, more vulnerably, more bravely – is not measly. At ease, soldier. ;-)

  11. Blake January 24, 2011 at 12:45 pm #

    Awesome, inspiring post. You always seem to put the most abstract things into tangible words. Keep it up, and I’ll keep reading.

    • j January 24, 2011 at 4:39 pm #

      Deal. (And thank you.)

  12. Robin January 24, 2011 at 2:00 pm #

    Yes. It. Does.

    • j January 24, 2011 at 4:42 pm #

      This made me smile.

  13. melissawolfe January 24, 2011 at 2:01 pm #

    I think you’re spot on with this. I’m still learning about love but I know a lot about hiding; and I’m beginning to realise that there is a lot of bravery in love that I didn’t really appreciate before. Thanks for writing this. It gives me the courage and the motivation to take that little risk. While I’m busy waiting and worrying about what’s wrong with me, I am looking in the wrong direction and missing the chance to reach out. xx

  14. j January 24, 2011 at 4:45 pm #

    I wasn’t really thinking of that aspect, but you’re right. There’s the whole utterly self-conscious, afraid-of-making-a-fool-of-myself thing that holds people back too. When I was first trying to be less shy, I would always think, what would a brave person do in this situation? Then I’d try to do it. (Sometimes with hilarious results.)

    Maybe the love project question is, What would a love warrior do in this situation? :-)

  15. Tall Pajama Man January 24, 2011 at 7:30 pm #

    Love warrior… love does… kinda like the catch phrases of superheros, once stated transforms the mild mannered Clark Kent type into a real love master… I must accessories with the badge (one reason I need to go on regular websites… can’t see the badge on the phone…).

    I gotta say that as I stand here in my CK (Clark Kent, not Calvin Klein) glasses, I have been that person who did wall the wrong stuff… the brooding, the retreating, the blaming… I’m ready to abandon that person for the sake of doing love. I’d rather be known for the power of love in me than the lack of love that I show.

    I’m so wanting to do love… ripping the CK shirt and tie off, ready to fly…

    • j January 24, 2011 at 10:11 pm #

      I love this: “I’d rather be known for the power of love in me than the lack of love that I show.” Me too. I have a feeling there might be even more bruising when you stop retreating, but it’s worth it, I think. The rewards are astronomical.

  16. Walker January 25, 2011 at 3:56 am #

    Rocking your badge this morning and sharing the love via a post on satisfaction!

    • j January 25, 2011 at 4:17 pm #

      Yay! Off to read your Satisfaction post, baby!

  17. Estrella Azul January 25, 2011 at 12:34 pm #

    I loved that sentence in the story, the husband saying that “Love DOES” and the story itself made me feel more hopeful than I’ve been in a while.
    This should be the textbook definition of love, I think, “It’s fragile and fleeting and lasting and strong”. Well said!

    The badge comes at a great moment, I was thinking about writing something in my sidebar about your Love Project, so now the badge speaks for itself :)
    Thank you for all that you are and what you’re helping us be :)

    • j January 25, 2011 at 4:17 pm #

      Awww. Thanks, Estrella. I’m happy and honored to appear on your blog in any way. xoxo

  18. whollyafool January 27, 2011 at 5:37 pm #

    I so needed this lately. The whole thing you wrote about expecting the people we love to know when and why we’re angry or sad and fix it, and if they don’t they don’t love us enough…I get so anxious and caught up in this.
    Thank you for this post.

    • j January 30, 2011 at 11:32 am #

      I think most of us get caught up in this. I have too, and I think I’ve spent most of my life careful not to be the one who loves “more.” Which, I realize now, is a completely ridiculous way to live. I’m noticing such a difference in the way I interact with the world – and more surprisingly and wonderfully, in the way the world interacts with me – since I made a conscious decision to not keep score. Thank you back for your comment!

  19. Marian January 30, 2011 at 11:04 am #

    Reading this post was an epiphany of truth. I just discovered your blog today and this must be some strange form of serendipity because I too have been dedicating myself to being open and receptive about love. For the last 7 months I have tried to be fearless about what scares me most– love. I was losing faith but am reinspired. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  20. j January 30, 2011 at 11:36 am #

    Yay! I think maybe there are a lot of us out here, and I hope that by the end of the year, we’re this big, formidable army of love warriors. ;-) I’ve been trying to be more open and fearless in love for the past year and a half. It’s been scary and I’ve been battered about a little. But I’ve also never been more thrilled by, or in awe of, my world and the people in it.

    I hope you’ll stay with me. 20011 is our year.

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