Go ahead, put down love – the books, the movies, the occasions that celebrate it – but even Wonder Woman says it’s the thing worth living for.

In her climactic battle with Ares, he tells Diana that humans don’t deserve her. Her response is “It’s not about deserve. It’s about what you believe. And I believe in love.” Given that Zeus is her father and Ares her brother, I take this to mean her Aunt Aphrodite could very well be the most powerful of the Gods.

Yes, I know with all that there is going on out there this sounds like a very “Pollyanna” attitude. Love will save the day seems trite, overused, simplistic. But I also believe there is a lot of truth to this. The more people feel a connection, the less they feel angry, anxious, isolated and alone. The more they are willing to do good and the more good that gets done.

The truth is love and connection really can change the world.  I recently watched an episode of the British series “Black Mirror” in which a soldier finds out that he’s been given an optical implant so that when he’s faced with the enemy, he sees a monster making it easier for him to kill the targets he’s given. The military has learned that the percentage of soldiers who cannot or do not fire their weapons is very high owing to the fact that it is difficult for most people to kill another human. To change this, they’ve made the enemy look unhuman to the solider. Once the soldier learns the truth, once he knows he’s been killing men, women and children, he is shattered and cannot go back.

As a romance reader and then as a writer, I’ve heard my genre put down and belittled for years. Yes, they know about romance. I write/read “those Harlequin books” or Bodice Rippers and Mommy Porn. I hear “well, I don’t read those books, but I know their very popular” with and accent on the “I” suggesting that the speaker is above such novels. Those novels are not only the most popular genre and have been for over forty years (you’d think such staying power would earn some respect), but have featured strong heroines, emotional journeys and character self-discoveries that helped me through breakups, times when I felt disconnection and my own #metoo incidents.  They reminded me of the importance of connection and helped me believe that it could and would be mine.

We brush love and all it stands for aside at our own peril. It deserves to be a priority, not a second thought, not something relegated to the silly or trivial. Certainly not something called “girly”. Anyone who has felt and expressed a wide range of emotions knows – emotions are not for the faint of heart. They require great strength and they show the strength of those who experience them.

As she says at the end of Wonder Woman, there is darkness and light in all of us and only love can truly save the world. I agree. Now and always, I stand with and for love.

I Stand for Love
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