It’s a song that was released in November 1984. I heard it first on an episode of Miami Vice.
Then I heard it again in the most surreal of settings. I had placed my wife and twin babies on a plane in New Orleans at the crack of dawn on a Saturday morning. I decided, before the long trip back to Alabama, to wander through the French Quarter. And there, at 7:30 on a Saturday morning on Bourbon Street, with only a garbage truck and a handful of bikers in view, I heard this desperate refrain come blowing out of an empty bar:
I want to know what love is.
I want you to show me.
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You and I live in a world that is desperate to know what love is. And as I have heard the song over the years, I hear a world that’s growing in intensity and desperation.
I want to know what love is. I want you to show me.
What have they gotten for a reply? A lot of substitutes for the real thing. They’ve gotten sex. They’ve gotten conditional friendship – use ‘em and lose ‘em. They’ve gotten religion. They’ve gotten promises with no delivery.
Call me crazy, but I don’t think it’s too late. There’s a real deal, and you have probably experienced it.
I’m helping my sister-in-law write a book about a kind of love that sees differently. That hears things non-loving people don’t hear. That touches and thinks and walks and talks and prays and plays and laughs and cries differently than the love imposters do. I’ll bet you know what that’s like. I’ll bet you know what love is. I want you to tell me.
A few years ago Robert Fulghum wrote a book titled True Love. In it he told the stories of people all over the country who wrote in, or met with him to tell their own love story. With apologies to one of my favorite writers, I’d like to do the same.
What’s your love story? It doesn’t have to be the romantic boy-meets-girl type. It may be about friendship. Or God. Or children or parents or parrots or watermelon. Who has shown you what love – the real deal – is all about? Take a few minutes and write it down. Email it to me at email@example.com. I promise not to share it without your permission. Or if you’d like, post it in a reply below. Either way, I’d like to learn from you what you’ve learned about love.
Oh, and would you help me out? Would you ask your aunt, your cousin, your college roommate, or your considerable email forwarding list to think about their stories too? I believe somebody needs to hear the story only they can tell.
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