Breaking News: Love No Longer Exists (And the World is Better Off)

love and belonging

Photo Credit: jessleecuizon via Compfight cc

(UnTangled News)— In May, UnTangled News reported the shocking divorce of Love and Power.

Since the divorce, Love has gone quietly about her business. Divorce rates have dropped precipitously, families are talking instead of screaming, friends are reconciling instead of rejecting, and self-loathing has become an endangered phenomenon.

Love’s work across the globe has been unmistakable, yet she has been elusive and for months no one actually saw her.

Until August 1, 2013.

According to international authorities, on the first of August, Love appeared at a local headquarters and successfully filed an application to change her name.

As of August 1, Love no longer exists.

From now on, Love will be called Belonging.

Exclusive Interview with Grace

Although Love (a.k.a., Belonging) remained unavailable for comment, UnTangled News was able to locate her closest confidante, Grace. Grace took a short break from her around-the-clock job at the Table for Everyone to speak with us about what most observers are calling an impulsive and confusing decision.

Reporter: Can you shed some light on why Love changed her name?

Grace: After her divorce, Love spent her days and nights inviting people into vulnerability and connection and unity. But she quickly realized her millennia-long marriage to Power had forever confused people about who she actually is. Most people were simply unable to believe that love apart from invitation and welcoming and belonging is not really love at all. They kept confusing her for someone else.

Reporter: Who?

Grace: They kept confusing Love for her third cousin twice removed on her mother’s side—Tolerance. Tolerance is a delightful young lady, for the most part. She’s polite to people with whom she disagrees, she can even be pretty sympathetic at times. But she has a difficult time inviting others in. I’m afraid her hospitality is a bit lacking.

Reporter: But why did Love choose “Belonging,” specifically?

Grace: As the result of her marriage to Power, many people came to think of Love as a judge, deciding who is good and who is bad, who is “in” and who is “out.”

But that’s not her purpose—it never has been, and it never will be.

Her purpose has always been to create a place of belonging for all people everywhere—a place in which every person belongs to every other person, a place in which exclusion is the biggest surprise and always confusing, a place in which every person is wrapped in an embrace rather than excluded by an idea or a belief.

So, she changed her name to Belonging. It’s her purpose and, after all, who doesn’t want to be defined by their purpose?

Reporter: Thank you for your time, Grace. We’ve kept you longer than we intended; will your employer be angry?

Grace (smiling broadly): Oh, I thought you knew…Love is the one who built the Table for Everyone. She put me in charge, so I’m kind of my own boss.

Reporter: In that case, one last question. Isn’t this name change merely a symbolic gesture?

Grace: I’m not sure if it’s symbolic or not, but if you look closely, I think you’ll see, it’s making all the difference in the world.

Reports of Worldwide Impact

At Grace’s suggestion, UnTangled News has begun investigating several seemingly related events.

Several months ago, an organization by the name of Truth Tellers International branded Love as their mascot and instructed their local chapters to love their family, friends, and neighbors by “telling them the truth and pointing out what they are doing wrong” (Truth Tellers Orientation Manual, pg. 5). Unfortunately, in a foreseeable snafu that no one seemed to foresee, every local chapter had a different version of what was true, so the local chapters began to secede from the international organization.

However, in the weeks since Love became Belonging, the local chapters have rejoined the mother organization and the company has been rebranded Truly Listening International

In other news, the homeless have been spotted eating at restaurants on Rodeo Drive and several corporate executives have begun taking lunch at local soup kitchens.

The nightly news talk shows are reconfiguring formats, as there is a shortage of partisans eager to fight—they are too busy commiserating on actual government reform.

The level of jealousy between employed mothers and stay-at-home mothers has almost completely evaporated, and they are now working together to discover new and better ways to love their families.

Men are talking less about their sports and more about their hearts.

And perhaps most importantly, in pubs around the nation, Bud Lite and Miller Lite drinkers are cracking a cold one together.

Expert Reactions

The information technology sector has been abuzz with the news. A representative for a leading tech firm explained, “This is Y2K all over again but bigger. Someone is going to have to recode every instance of the word, ‘Love’ in pop culture. We’ve just opened an entire division dedicated to recoding every reference to ‘The Love Boat.’ I don’t think ‘The Belonging Boat’ sounds quite as catchy, but it’s not up to me.”

Psychologist Kelly Flanagan shared his opinion: “I think Love has finally dispelled much of the misconception and confusion surrounding her. As Love, it was easy to embrace her, while sowing seeds of division. Now that she is fully identified as Belonging, I think it will be impossible to embrace her, without embracing everyone else.

Flanagan added, “This is great news for the world, but it’s horrible news for psychologists. After Love’s divorce from Power, our numbers were already dropping off. Now that she has become Belonging, our waiting rooms are almost empty. I’m going to have to find something else to do. Maybe I’ll try writing. I kind of enjoy it.”

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Comments: You can share your thoughts or reactions at the bottom of this post.                

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Preview: Next Wednesday’s post is tentatively entitled, “Fighting the Giants That Have Hold of Our Children.”

Disclaimer: This post is not professional advice. It should be read as you would read a “self-help” book. For professional and customized advice, you should seek the services of a counselor, who can become more intimately familiar with your specific situation. Counselors can be located through your insurance network or through your state psychological association.

Kelly is a licensed clinical psychologist and co-founder of Artisan Clinical Associates in Naperville, IL. He is also a writer and blogs regularly about the redemption of our personal, relational, and communal lives. Kelly is married, has three children, and enjoys learning from them how to be a kid again. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Jennifer Newell

    Taking the time to make sure someone new feels like they belong has a lasting effect. For me having joined a new team at work about 3 months ago, I know I am comfortable here because someone or in my specific case, a few someone’s reached out and included me and gave me the sense of belonging. Look around and invite someone to go to lunch with you, you just might be the link that makes them feel part of the team.

    • drkellyflanagan

      Jenn, Thanks for the personal example and for the reminder that belonging is important in all settings, including work. Maybe especially work!

      • Nancy

        Dr K thank you for sharing these wonderful truths in such a way that anyone can understand. I would like to incorporate some of your writing ideas in a project I am doing for adolescence and teens (of course giving due reference to your work). I can just imagine a vignette here what a way to empower our youth as well as adults.

        • drkellyflanagan

          Please feel free to do so, Nancy; I’d be honored!

  • cjk

    This reminds me of the book “Hinds Feet on High Places” with a spin. A great read

    • drkellyflanagan

      Thank you for the high praise! Hannah Hurnard’s book is adored by many.

    • Nancy

      You know this does sound like a modern day “Hinds Feet”

  • Priti

    Brilliant !! Coincidentally, my name means ‘love’ and my husband’s ‘power’. The article surely spoke to me.

    • drkellyflanagan

      Thank you, Priti. I hope your marriage tells a different story, one of “Love” and “Power” learning to serve and sacrifice for each other. Please give my best to your husband.

  • Cherrie Dudash

    Dr. Kelly, you’ve hit the nail on the head as usual with this wonderful article! Thanks for your insights!

    • drkellyflanagan

      Thank you, Cherrie!

  • Sheila

    FAB.U.LOUS, Kelly! Thanks for always writing things that lift me higher, move me deeper and open my heart wider. Namaste and bright blessings to ALL!

    • drkellyflanagan

      Thank you, Sheila, and blessings to you, as well!