Monday, October 22, 2007

All you need is love.

So I watched Across the Universe last Friday. First of all, let me say that if you are a) a fan of musicals, b) a fan of hippie-artsy movies, or c) a fan of the Beatles, you will LOVE this movie. (Especially if you're all three, like me.) The final scene is absolutely perfect... attractive British man, standing on the roof of a New York building, singing "All You Need is Love" with that gorgeous voice that makes me swoon. Which in turn reminded me of my favorite scene in Love Actually, where everyone stands up and starts playing that same song in Keira Knightley's wedding. What is it about that song that makes us positively giddy inside?

For years I just wrote the song off as another guilty pleasure, thinking to myself that "all you need is love" was just a pretty delusion, perhaps brought on by the consumption of a few too many hallucinogenic drugs by the Fab Four. But the more I've thought about it the past few days, the more I've been realizing that this mantra may not be as idealistic and ridiculous as it initially seems.

How do you define the word love? I could go through the sermon standard, three Greek words, different types of love, English language doesn't do it justice, etc. But no matter whether you're talking about romantic, friendly, or parental love, the root of the definition is this: Love is not simply a feeling. It's a lifestyle.

Think about it. When you enter into a friendship, or a romantic relationship, or you give birth to a child, or you make marriage vows, you make a commitment to love the other person. In the case of marriage, it's "till death do us part." Is it humanly possible to promise to feel a certain way until we DIE? Of course not; that's ridiculous. Humans are not capable of controlling our feelings any more than we are our health, our wealth, or our life circumstances. Nobody feels love 100% of the time, whether it's toward family, friends, a spouse, or a significant other.

So what, then, do we promise when we agree to love someone? It's a commitment. We promise to give our time, our energy, and our priorities so we place that person's needs above our own. Even when we feel like we want to kill them. That's real love.

"All you need is love." If that's talking about romantic feelings, or sex, or butterflies in the stomach, then it's just a silly song. But if everyone in the world made it their number one priority to LOVE each other in the true sense of the word, would anything else really matter? At any rate, the world would be a much better place. In that case, sing it from the rooftops, kids. Or at the next wedding you go to. Because maybe, just maybe, love IS all we need.

Here are some sweet songs about the real kind of love. Listen to them, because they're amazing, if I do say so myself.

1. The Beatles - All You Need Is Love
The inspiration for this entry. Obviously.

2. Chris Rice - Love Like Crazy
I'm so obsessed with Chris Rice. His lyrics always hit home, and this one is no exception. Plus this one always puts me in a good mood. If you like it, check out the album it's from, Amusing.

3. Amy Grant - Love Can Do
A really good portrait of what love should be.
"everybody hurts when the feelings fade
if you want 'em back, you know you've gotta stay
no running -- love's coming back, like only love can do"

4. Amy Grant - That's What Love Is For
This might be one of my top five songs of all time. It's been known to make me cry.

5. Hairspray - Without Love
Feel like dancing? If not, you will by the time you finish this one.

Have a great week and go love somebody. And please leave me a comment if you liked any of these songs. :)

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