POSITIVE OUTLOOK: We Work for Love
“I work for Love.” I scrawled these words across my mirror in deep pink lipstick. I don’t mean “work for” as in trying to earn, although heaven knows I’ve had periods of my life where that’s been true. I mean working on behalf of, in service of, the extraordinary force of nature that is love and all it means for our potential as human beings. A relationship that I had placed a lot of hope in had crumbled. It broke as gently and respectfully as any connection can break, but it broke, and it hurt. In one particularly deep moment of sadness, I wrote those words someplace I would see them every day to remind myself of who I was. The feelings of anger, of loss, of self-doubt would come and go, and I would do my best to honor them and see them through, but they would not be allowed to take root.
The inspiration came from a song by Paul Weller called “It’s Written in the Stars:”
“It’s written in the stars, meant for us
Soaked into the sand, made by time
Taken by the hand from above
I really do feel that we work for love”
In times of darkness, both the intensely personal ones and those that play out for everyone on a larger scale, these words have reminded me of the universal forces to which we are all connected. We’re at a place in our culture where some pretty important decisions are being made about who we are and how we treat each other. Will we support each other in our pursuits of love and happiness? Will we respect each other in our rights to our own bodies? Can we come together when we experience pain and loss, and find a way to help one another, or do we react with fear and rage, allowing it to drive us further apart? I know there are days when it looks pretty grim, but I believe that the values of dignity, compassion, and personal freedom will win out. Here’s why:
Love is tougher. Standing on the side of love takes guts! It’s a million times easier to tear down than to create, to snap your mind shut rather than try to appreciate a different perspective, to fall back on vengefulness and brute force instead of looking for real solutions. Hate and prejudice is a dodge. Love is where the courage is at, and courage is what drives the future.
Love is smarter. As the old Rodgers and Hammerstein song goes, “You’ve got to be taught to hate and fear.” Messages of intolerance and malice have to be drummed in. Why? Because they’re unnatural, and they don’t make any sense. Leave any child to connect the dots on their own, and love wins the argument hands down. You can convince people not to trust their own ability to reason, but only for so long.
Love has a better sense of humor. Have you ever watched people laugh at a really mean-spirited joke? It’s shallow and joyless. All the great comedy, the comedy that truly challenges us and pushes boundaries, has heart. It creates a sense of community among strangers, relieves the pain of the difficulties we face, and takes power away from even the most oppressive forces. Laughter that comes from a place of love is incredibly powerful stuff.
Love gets things done. Can you imagine how much we could accomplish without all these battles over gender and sexuality and race and whatever else we can find to drive a wedge between each other? Love calls for empathy, and empathy leads to understanding, and understanding leads to real solutions. Love finds the sustainable energy sources and protects the resources that we all need to thrive-and recognizes that wellness and the advancement of knowledge are some of the most valuable of those resources. Love works.
There used to be a store in New York called Love Saves the Day. With enough of us on it’s side, it will.
Dana Gallagher is a website developer and actress based in New York City. She is currently a cast member of Minions of Gozer: a Ghostbusters shadowcast production, and co-organizer for the New York City chapter of Dance Dance Party Party!