All You Need is Love
We’re living in interesting times. I’m sure that has been said about every single decade, but it’s where my brain lingers these days. I make a living studying gaps in access and opportunity in Washington. As I review mountains of data, work to facilitate cross- sector collaborations, and zigzag across the state giving countless presentations, the solutions always come down to one thing: Love.
Not the kind of love that the 13-year-old in you just thought of – often isolated to a feeling tied to romance and affection and the cheesy movies to which I’m admittedly addicted. If you drill down far enough in Merriam-Webster’s definition, you will find mention of love as benevolence with “concern for the good of another” and “the fatherly concern of God for humankind.” THIS is the love of which I write. THIS is the love we need to truly move the needle in the way that we agreed to when we chose Gonzaga. With so many colleges and universities available, many of us were drawn to the Jesuit focus on public service (and basketball). In fact, our mission statement begins with a promise to be an “exemplary learning community that educates students for lives of leadership and service for the common good.”
How are we, as alumni, living out that mission statement? I thought I was doing well with my actions until God told me that I needed to move a homeless family of nine into my house. My first response was not in the affirmative – I resisted and then eventually acquiesced. However, He wasn’t done yet. He then told me to move my son and me out of our own home so that the family could have a permanent place to stay, creating a home for themselves. You can imagine how that went over. It was a stressful time and I had a lot of questions for God during that process, but He always comes through. What I discovered was that while I was doing something helpful for a family that wasn’t my own, God was showing me what it meant to truly “love your neighbor as yourself.” I learned what it meant to have means and share them in a way that pushed my comfort level to benefit the greater good. This family, once homeless, is now an active part of their community, their faith has been rekindled, and they’re employees of the social services system, spreading love to others in our community.
At some point while you were reading this, I bet the Beatles’ “All You Need Is Love” popped into your head. While it was originally an anti-war song, it still has a point. No ma er what problem you’re trying to solve, you should care about the impact your solutions will (or won’t) have on other humans. The world is bigger than you or I. It’s bigger than racism, gender bias, differing abilities and economics. Everyone is a beautiful being, made in God’s image. It is humankind that has determined to label people, shoving them into categories that we have constructed over time. But our world is changing and our community will move forward if we all choose to shirk these constructs and start every decision from the place of love. I have faith in you/ us, because we are GU.
All we need is love.
In 2019, this graduate of Eastern Washington University, Washington State University and Gonzaga University took the reins as CEO of Washington STEM, a nonprofit seeking equity for families across the state through science, technology, engineering and math programs.