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Photo via Brett Beadle

Love each other.  Is it so difficult?

Why not reflect on that advice this Valentine’s Day?  And in addition to loving someone you see and love every day, love a stranger.

Think for a moment that the same person whom you loved as a teen is that same person who you chatted with in the elevator this morning, and is also the same person who cut you off in traffic yesterday. Imagine that the same woman that helped you retrieve your makeup when it spilled from your purse at the grocery store is the same man who kissed you this morning as he tied his necktie before leaving for work while you curled up for 9 more minutes of snooze time — and that same barista who smiles and delivers your Americano in the morning is the same man who plays his music way too loud in the condo next door on weekends.

The human animal’s single most significant differentiator from most of the rest of the creatures roaming this planet is the capacity to love, and to do so deeply. Love binds us together in groups, it is the root of so many of our fears, and it is the essence of our morality. We people are all borne of the same elemental DNA and treading upon this same earth, breathing air and sipping rain and trudging through snow and mud and dust together. In these ways, and in so many more, we are all connected… our fates endlessly intertwined in a complex web of co-dependency.  We are here for no other reason than to help each other.

Go to this place of connectedness. Visit it often. See the eyes of a former lover in the gaze of a soldier. See the compassion of your kindergarten teacher in the gesture of a tax auditor. See the mercy of your mother in a homeless child.

Observe closely: every nuance of a person you are seeing for the first time evokes a memory of a person you have known before.  That, dear readers, is not a coincidence.  It is a reminder.

All people need your love. All people need your compassion. We are truly one people.

“Loving people live in a loving world. Hostile people live in a hostile world. Same world.”

                                                         – Wayne Dyer

I intend to make a more deliberate effort to remember these words, and to live by them, going forward.

Thanks to Derek Shanahan for inspiring this post with his treatise today.

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