Last weekend I was up early in order to go to my daughter's school and help put out the barricades for a 2 mile run that to raise money for the homeless. The rain came down hard, making the spring morning feel more like winter. It was only 50 degrees out and I knew that helping in the rain and then doing the run was going to be cold and I'd be drenched by the end of it.
I had a few minutes to watch TV, so I turned on the news and caught a bit of the hoopla surrounding the royal wedding. I remember Prince Charles and Lady Diana's wedding all those years ago. I was a little kid and my mom laughed at me as I had perfected Diana's wave. I'd walked through the house, smiling, and I'd raise my hand up, keeping my wrist straight, and then turn my little hand back and forth to wave at my family. They loved it.
My mom didn't have a lot of money growing up, and after she divorced my father, we moved in with my grandparents as she had no house and no child support (back in the 70s a man could just refuse to pay and get away with it for years and years).
So as I stood in front of the TV watching Prince Harry's and Meghan Markle's wedding, I had a lot going through my mind. Much of it was about love--my past and family.
But what really is love? Why does it matter? Why do I love talking about love? The Beatles sang "All you need is love" and it kept me positive and happy through many, many a rough times in my life.
After the race for the homeless, I came back from the charity race cold and wet. I turned the TV back on to see more of the wedding and came across Bishop Curry's sermon on love. If you haven't seen his sermon, I'd recommend that you watch it. Seeing a black man give such an empowered speech to the upper class of British society (and how uncomfortable they were at times in listening to his emotional outpourings of hope) was just pure joy.
Bishop Curry spoke from the heart. In a world in which neighbor hates neighbor, our children our being gunned down in our schools and white nationalists have marched in our streets clamoring for "blood and soil," we live in a time of hatred and fear.
But I believe in love.
I write about it. I want to live it and be the best person I can be.
You see, I'll share with you a little secret. My Cinderella's Secret Witch Diaries books are about love. Cinderella is in love with love. I've been there myself many times. She's fallen in love with the romantic infatuation of love. Being wrapped up in the joy of knowing that you've found someone outside yourself who gets you and you them. And that the worst of the world can crash against your ship of love, but you will not break. Love will carry you through.
But as Cinderella finds out (and as I have myself): Infatuation is not love. Nor is being in love with love. At the end of the day, I believe love is a choice. It's a power that can change and solve any problem. And I'm not just talking about romantic love.
Way back in high school, a priest at my Catholic high school told me: "Love is seeing good in someone and actively working to have that love grow." I've always liked that definition because love means that you want to be active and not just lost in your thoughts.
Telling someone you love them is great, but do you know what's better? Showing them.
There has been great angst in our country lately. How can any of us change what's around us and find love? We love our families. We love our neighbors. But what about those others?
I have a story to share with you, not to give myself accolades, but to give an example of living a life of love.
A few months ago, I was rushing home from work. I made it to the subway stop and it's about two flights of stairs down to the platform. Off to the right, I saw an older woman who looked to be a grandmother. One young child sat in a stroller and two other children hung close to her. She made it to the subway steps and stopped.
I was late and wanted to get home to my own family. I had a split second to make a decision and I could have easily ignored her and rushed down the stairs. She wouldn't have thought anything of it as I didn't make eye contact with her and she was on the other side of the stairs. But instead, I stopped asked her if she needed help and a look of relief came over her.
I lifted the end of the stroller and together we carried it (and the child inside) down the two flights of stairs. She thanked me and I went on my way.
Show, act, do. I am a father and have two children. There are others in the neighborhoods of where I work and in my own community who need help. Romantic love is wonderful, but so is love for other people. We all need help at times. Holding a door for someone, helping someone who drops something at the store and a friendly smile--there are moments of love around us all the time.
In the story I shared with you, I am now going to ask you a question: When you read the story, what did the grandmother look like to you? Be honest. It's just us here. I'm not going to judge you.
Did you imagine the woman being white, black, Asian or Hispanic?
I'm not going to tell you the answer, but I bring this up to share a point: showing love of neighbor goes beyond color, gender or sexual orientation. Helping is helping and I've had to take a serious look at the world around me and take a stand.
I live in a country in which a white lawyer yelled at customers in a store for speaking Spanish, a Yale student called the police on a fellow black student for sleeping in the common area, a Starbucks manager called the police on two black men in Philadelphia because they were there "too long", and a woman in Oakland called the police because black people were having a barbecue.
Love. I don't know how you feel about any of these issues, but I can tell you that I want to show love to my neighbors and those I interact with during my day-to-day.
My world isn't going to change overnight. But if I can make a difference, even in just a small way, then I hope my example will help others and inspire.
Love isn't just about romantic love. Love is also helping my neighbor.
No matter the color of that person's skin, or their nationality, religion, sexual orientation, or gender.
I am going to continue to show love. What will you do?
In June, I'm running to help the charity Back on My Feet. BOMF helps the homeless in Philadelphia. This year I'm running with the rest of my team at my day job to help.
Can make a small donation for me to the homeless?
If you are unable to donate, then, please, I ask you to help those in your own community. There is too much hatred and fear in our world. Let's join together and show love. Love for our family, friends, but most importantly to the strangers around us.