SHHH (In the Name of Love)
by Rajul Punjabi
“Let us not love with words or tongue but with action and in truth” 1 John 3:18
“You know talk is cheap” 2 Chainz
I run my mouth day and night. I joke with my friends, lecture my students, and talk a lot of mess with my parents over biryani on Sunday nights. On top of it, I’m an entertainment journalist so I always have something to say about Kanye or Nicki Nick. I also wear my emotions on my sleeve. Everyone in my life knows exactly how I feel about them. Maybe not the most tactful or diplomatic way to live life, but I fall asleep at night peacefully knowing that if I don’t wake, I left the world with the truth.
I recently learned that my words are not enough. As a writer, this is quite disconcerting. The idea blows my mind. What if Pablo Neruda, with all his poignant and lush love poetry, was a just a regular dude trying to get some? Did he back up his devotional verses with a ring? Did he go to the dentist and hold his lover’s hand during a routine cleaning just because s/he was nervous? Holy hot damn, actions are important.
There are a handful of people in this world that I love. I have told them, with reckless abandon. I don’t need to hear it back, I just need them to know. (Admittedly, there’s no greater feeling like your 16-year-old little sister saying it back after you’ve shaken her vigorously by the shoulders and screamed it in her face after the “wait for sex until you’re really ready” talk). But since I am moving through my “talk is cheap” phase, I have begun to experiment. When I want to tell someone I love them, or miss them, I send a small gift. I write something for or to them. I surprise them with lunch at work. Or, when my wallet and vocabulary are spent, I say a quick positive affirmation for them. May you find laughter in an unexpected place today. And then I send it up with a big ol’ kiss. There might be more to this movement, but I’m taking baby steps. I mean, if the Bible and 2 Chainz are urging me to put my money where my mouth is, it’s time to get it poppin’. Loving “with action and in truth” is one hell of an intention. Even as I begin to explore it, I’m exhausted. It requires a complicated surgical removal of one’s ego. I’m clinging to mine but promising to push it backstage where it will serve me more fruitfully.
Speaking of fruit, my yoga instructor read a poem today, about the perils of over-tending to sapling. Basically, if you are obsequious with it and over-water, over-tend and over-love, it will fail to flourish. Hence, the theory of loving something (or someone) by giving a little space. So here goes. Cheers to the victory of love’s intentions.