By Claire Louge

Several months ago, I got the chance to attend Keeping Families Together, a one-day event put on by Our Sister Our Brother. We had the good fortune of having Aysha Schomburg, Associate Commissioner of the Children’s Bureau, give a welcome address.

Associate Commissioner Schomburg spoke of the urgent need to provide supports and resources to keep families safely together and to prevent family separation. She called on us – all of us- to see ourselves in those that we seek to serve. To observe the systems we operate and work within, and to examine the parts causing harm to our communities and our future. 

She also said something that particularly struck me. She said, “Love is a professional word.”

I wrote that phrase down so it could marinate in my mind. 

We don’t talk a lot about love in the workplace. Love is usually considered personal, too gooey or unreasonable for the structure of work. The professional is concrete, cerebral, contained.

But why do you work? And why, especially, are you doing this work?

I bet that when you answer that question, the answer, in its most distilled, essential form, comes back to love. Perhaps it’s out of love for the people your job is seeking to serve. For your own community. For your children, or the children in your life, and for the world you’d like them to live in. For your own family and for yourself, since you’re working to generate an income that supports the meeting of your needs. For love of the team you work with. For love of what you do, and the feeling it gives you when you know it to be meaningful.

The Lebanese-American poet Kahlil Gibran wrote, “Work is love made visible.” What we are doing, it is out of love. And if love is the reason that we work, it can also be how we approach our work. 

When we approach our work with love, we start doing what love would do. And that’s when our human-serving systems can truly serve the humanness of humanity, it all its frustrating, emotional, fearful, fascinating, and complicated nature. 

Fall is a time that encourages reflection. I invite you to take a moment to reflect on the love that motivates you to do the work you do. Love is why we’re all here. Love is a professional word.