Life changes when there is love. On Friday the 13th I participated in “To Write Love on Her Arms” day. It was one of those social movements–in this case an effort to bring awareness to the pain of self-harming that comes from depression and addiction. There wasn’t a big ask for a check or to walk, run, skip, hop or jump. The organizers wanted us all to write the word LOVE on our arm and then be open to answering questions about it. I did. Truthfully, Fridays are frequently a dead zone in my office so no one asked or noticed. I still have the blurred black Sharpie remnant on my left forearm. Love doesn’t solve all problems, but it is as necessary as air, water.
In my life I’ve been fortunate to have been in two loving marriages. The first ended because we had married very young and grew to be unexpectedly different people. The second arrived unexpectedly, and is a continuing surprise. I am most aware of the love that surfaces at the worst of times. When we are at our most unlovable. Parents need to learn that early if they are to succeed as parents. Who would change a diaper, if not for love? Who would attend a hundred soccer games or teacher-conferences, if not for love? Who would listen to the tears?
A few months ago, I had another lesson in seeing desperation and the need to be loved. My husband and I ventured to the “MSPCA’s Nevins Farm” in search of a dog to fill the hole in my heart left when I lost two dogs to old age last year. I had always gone to breeders but my daughter Emma convinced me to consider rescue. The first cage I stopped at contained a small ragamuffin of a black and white dog, indeterminate breeding. The dog shied away from my husband but came right to the wire and pressed his nose out to touch me. It was love at first sight. Waffles came home with us. He had been a stray on the street, a mess of minor ailments and in need of a home. We have since learned that he has a penchant for pushing boundaries. The invisible fence is invisible to him, in all ways. The cat door has become his favorite point of entry. But he also flings himself in vertical leaps, onto my lap. He expects to be caught. To be wanted. It’s simple for him. It’s not simple for those caught in the cycle of addiction and depression.
If we could rescue each other with love, it would be a wonderful thing. So, for one day, I’m willing to use indelible ink on my skin. I hope this becomes an ever growing movement. Love is the word. Love is the deed we need.