I Want to Know What Love Is: I Want You to Tell Me

by Andy Wood on February 5, 2008

in Life Currency, Love


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.

With the help of the New Jersey Mass Choir, it became Foreigner’s greatest hit ever. And it still haunts me to this day.

Check out the video below…

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 andy@lifevesting.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.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Nathan February 7, 2008 at 12:07 pm

Cool post…here I was never big on Foreigner. Ha!


PS – Nice looking blog.

JoAnne Wood February 8, 2008 at 12:25 am

Love is a verb- shows action!!!!

Ron@TheWisdomJournal February 8, 2008 at 9:18 pm

Hey there Andy, where in Alabama did you live? I lived in Birmingham for about 35 years and would love to move back.

I read an article on a site called upbeatbrain.com about playing catch with your Dad. Here’s the link:

Thinking back on my Dad and knowing how much he loved me (because I now have a little boy), made me tear up. It takes a lot to do that. You really should read it.


Andy Wood February 9, 2008 at 10:01 am

@Nathan – Thanks, bro. Keep coming back, and please, recommend LifeVesting to your friends.

@JoAnne – Amen! That’s something Robin has pounded at me for 25 years, and certain other females (ha!) for nearly 50. Thanks, Mama.

@Ron – I’m adding the Wisdom Journal to my links list – you have a great source of wisdom there. Thanks for the link – I’ll check it out. I’m originally from Mobile. The town I was living in at the time I referred to above was Jackson, AL. But I’ve also lived in Abbeville, Birmingham, and Fayette before moving out of state. We were in B’ham from 1988-1991 – lived in the Grayson Valley area.

Ron@TheWisdomJournal February 9, 2008 at 5:33 pm

We lived in North Shelby county before moving and lived in the Huffman and Centerpoint area prior to that. I also know a family in Abbeville, the Medley’s (they were in banking). My mother in law lived in Mobile on South Lafayette street just off of Government before she passed away. Small world!

What church did you go to in Grayson Valley?
We went to Faith Chapel in Huffman and then to Briarwood Presbyterian and later to Oak Mountain Presbyterian.

Andy Wood February 9, 2008 at 8:20 pm

@Ron – I was the pastor at Clearview Baptist on Old Springville Road in Chalkville. And I know the Medley’s – at least Mike. He was one of my bankers – pretty young in those days. I grew up in the Cottage Hill area in Mobile. Small world indeed! Where do you live now?

David Rosenthal February 12, 2008 at 8:53 am

Oh whats love got to do, got to do with it
What`s love but a second hand emotion
What`s love got to do, got to do with it
Who needs a heart
When a heart can be broken?

Ron@TheWisdomJournal February 12, 2008 at 9:25 pm

Yes, I knew Mike but it’s been a long time, perhaps 20 years or more since I last saw him. I’ve been by your church on Old Spingville Road many times. I had some friends who lived in Chalkville and others who lived in Grayson Valley.
I live in Jonesboro Arkansas now. Small world!

NJ Dude November 5, 2008 at 11:06 pm

Great post, and definitely an iconic song from the 80’s, one that virtually anyone from that timeframe can identify. They just don’t make songs like that anymore.

NJ Dudes last blog post..Sea Isle City in the Fall

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