In the early days of my tenure at the Center for Servant Leadership, I didn’t write or speak much on the topic of love. I took it for granted that everyone knew the meaning. Love is a powerful four letter word, and it is foundation of the servant leadership philosophy. Mr. Bill Turner, founding member of the Pastoral Institute says, “The engine of servant leadership is love, and love is a gift from God.”
I don’t want to sound as if I am being holier than thou. On the contrary, but I am being vulnerable by putting myself “out there.” Much of what I say here may very well be projection. I honestly don’t know. I want to be loved, but I think it is more important that I am the one doing the loving. However, it’s not just about me. I want people to love one another. Is this a lofty ideal? Maybe, but it’s worth a try. What do I have to lose?
As I observe the world around me and humankind at large, I see people on edge. America is a country of plenty but a recent Everett College poll found that 83% of Americans are stressed on the job. I find it hard to believe that these stressed-out citizens aren’t taking their anxiety home with them at the end of the day.
Our culture is living in the Red Zone—rising before dawn to catch the early bus to a job that has a bleak and uncertain potential; working more than one job; unruly bosses and terrible work environments; all the while raising children and trying to inspire them to be the best they can be.
All of this brings me to the importance of love. For most people, it’s easy to love in good times. Life is more than bearable and it's easy to love when the bills are being paid, the children are behaving, and it seems like your current job has a lifetime contract. But we need to love in bad times, too. It’s easy to pay lip service and tell the world you are a loving human being. However, we human beings need to love when things are not going our way. We need to love in spite of it all and no matter what. We need to love deeply and always.
What do you think? Do you love everyone? Or, just the people you like? Do you love in bad as well as in good times? How deep is your love?