Commentary | Life Lines: Make the love choice

Here’s the funny part about love: it can often be very, very blatantly, fatally, unpredictably not funny. As not funny as an old lady being robbed. The kind of not funny that lets you dive into a beautiful blue ocean two seconds before a great white shark chomps you in two.

Here’s the thing, I am going to breach one of the most important rules of writing for a large audience by telling you something most people would only tell a small audience…like an audience of one.

You ready for it? Here it goes: Love exists.

I’m dead serious. It’s actually here. Psychologists would call it many neurons reaching an action threshold; philosophers would say it is a form that exists outside of space and time; St. Paul would say it is patient and kind and that it does not envy. And what I’m trying to say is that despite Montreal traffic, incurable diseases, and that guy who cut in front of you in the McDonald’s line, love exists.

And sure it can be hilarious at times, whether in your own life or on the silver screen. But it’s existence – or nonexistence – in our day-to-day lives can also make it pretty serious.

Walking on Sherbrooke, I was on my way to enter McGill through the Roddick Gates, ecstatic for the next installment of my Understanding Planet Earth class. I noticed though, as I’m sure you have, that very few (if any) passers-by make eye contact.

So deciding to push the social barriers, I resolved to say a mere “Hi” every time someone passed me close by. Just a friendly, throwin’-it-out-there “Hi.”

It actually worked wonders. At first, people glanced up while looking like they were thinking about maybe saying something. But as I grew more adamant with my “Hi’s” people started to greet me back.

Here’s the phenomenon: people seemed thankful to have made contact. To have joined in on something. They walked away almost smiling. Not by any means laughing or grinning, but almost smiling. Which is, like any new mother will tell you, a very good start.

This went both ways; knowing that they had a tiny bit more smiliness in them gave me enough smiliness to last the week.

Coming back to the non-funniness of love. There is obviously a transition here. Between giving and receiving; how both bring joy by connecting with another human being, by being aware of life through sharing life. This is very real, and the prospect of losing it is not humorous. Being eaten by a shark kind of stuff.

Whether romantic or brotherly, the love around us, though often spurred by feelings, is activated and sustained by choice. I don’t suggest greeting everybody everywhere but when passing the people you share in life with, throw out a “Hi,” a handshake, or a hug. Take a note out of our ancestors’ book from the seventies, and make the love choice.

Johanu’s column appears every Monday. Send free hugs to lifelines@mcgilldaily.com. Lately, he’s been yearnin’ for some lovin’.


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