“All you need is love, love. Love is all you need.”
In the past when I heard these lyrics, crooned into my ear by the captured voices of the Beatles, I would laugh.
What a silly thought, I would say to myself. Love? A little thing like love, being all you need? So ridiculous. So naive.
But I’ve been thinking lately about the things I’ve seen in my short time on this earth caused by a lack of love.
I’ve seen news reports of lives taken.
I’ve watched buildings fall.
I’ve read articles recording the harrowing details of violences so horrific.
I’ve listened to accounts of men and women and children abandoned, left lost and alone.
And so, so much more, so much needless sorrow, so much unnecessary pain… All caused by people and places and hearts not fueled and filled by love.
I’ve often looked at myself and looked at the people who have instigated these events, these tragedies. I’ve looked and I have asked myself: What is the difference? What drove them to there, to the trigger, to the knife, to the bottle, and what drives me to the paper?
And I have come to the conclusion that my little life has been so filled with love that I’ve just had no choice but to live it beautifully in respect and in thanks to those who have loved me so strongly, so bravely, so selflessly.
Truly, I’ve been blessed by the hands of God with the love of the best people He has ever made.
I’ve been blessed by the love of a man and a woman who have shaped me and shown me more about true love than any others I can think of.
By the love of brothers and sisters whose blood I do not share.
By the love in wrinkled hands that looked like mine, and then by the love of grandmothers and grandfathers who never gave their genes to me, but who passed down a love for making cookies and music and good recipes.
By the love of friends who helped me, taught me, laughed with me and cried for me.
My life has been opened up by and folded deep into a love I have no words to describe.
And this love has given me a heart for compassion, eyes for beauty, hands for holding tight the hands of another in need.
So when I look at a person whose actions speak so loud of hate and fear for all to hear, the only thing I can see is a broken heart which has been starved of love from others, empty of self-love, devoid of love for this broken world. And my heart is in pieces to imagine a space so hollow sitting inside someone’s chest like that.
Maybe we are absolutely desperate for more people who believe that the only thing we need is love.
Maybe we should all believe it, maybe we should all open up our hearts to receive that love in all its forms, and maybe we should shout that love out loud.
Though I’m not the first to say it, maybe all we need is love, love. Maybe love really is all we need.
-Jessi Sanders 2012