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The Love We Make

by Jude Southerland Kessler

Author,The John Lennon Series … The Only Historical Narrative On the Life of John Lennon

Let me tell you about my pharmacist. He’s “Mean Mr. Mustard,” in Beatle-speak. He’s not warm and fuzzy.

The man never talks to you directly.  He sends his minions (dripping with eye rolls and sighs, as if you’re “driving them to the brink,” merely by refilling a prescription) to “deal with you.” And if he’s ever forced into a face-to-face discussion with a customer, he makes it clear that it’s the ultimate interruption of his very important day.

After a miserable encounter with him last Friday, I spent the weekend rehearsing a little speech that I wanted to give him about how his job affords him the chance to cheer people who are suffering. I planned to say that he has the opportunity to make people smile, to lift heavy hearts, and to make a real difference in the world. I practiced (in my mind, of course) telling him that he has the choice to continue hating everyone and helping no one … or the choice to open his heart to “all the lonely people,” and to start serving humanity and being a part of the answer, not the problem.

And then it hit me: I have those same choices! I can choose to be friendly to him, to exhibit kindness, and to live out the little free-of-charge homily I’d planned to offer to him. I can walk the proverbial walk instead of talking the proverbial talk. I can live out my own diatribe.

The Beatles believed that the love you take in life is measured out from the storehouse of love you’ve accumulated through giving to others. Of course, they said it much better than that. They wrote:

“And in the end, the love you make is equal to the love you take.”

That was the last phrase the Fab Four imparted to us before saying their final “Goodbye” as a band. And what a closing statement it was! You get what you give. You reap what you sow. Or in Biblical terms, “Cast your bread upon the waters, and after many days, it shall return to you.”

I know … in 2020, that’s far easier to say than to do. We’ve faced hurricanes, floods, job losses, political vitriol, economic struggles, disappointments, and most of all, serious disease and death. Many of us have faced personal struggles that have been no easier to bear. It has been a frightening and dark year.

But as we close this horrendous 365 days, I’m trying to transform anger and hurt into something better. A wise counselor recently advised me to convert each negative encounter in my life into “a learning experience.” She urged me to look for the life lessons I could glean from my interactions with others. She recommended that I look for the good in any experience, even pain. And I’m trying to do just that.

This morning, our 318Central.com editor, Orkke Clifton, e-mailed me and said, “Let’s quietly slip out the back door of 2020 and march boldly into 2021!” I couldn’t agree more! Let’s march into this new year with the determination to be more patient, more giving, and more forgiving. Let’s agree to change hate and resentment into compassion and understanding. Let’s agree to make this next decade into something spectacular. The love we take will certainly be contingent upon the love we make.

That’s our challenge. Shall we accept it?

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