Joe 1968It’s that time again when people are asked to, “Be my Valentine”.

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and that makes this is the perfect time of year to ask a question that I spent many years pondering. “Where is Love”?

The first time I heard that question came at an important time in my life. I was quite you and it was 1968. I was a four-year old boy, my parents had divorced and my three elder sisters lived with our mother while I lived with my father. For some odd reason no one completely understands, my mother and my sisters disappeared from my life entirely.

My stepmother took me to see the new movie “Oliver!”, a musical version of Charles Dicken’s “Oliver Twist”, about an orphaned boy who was abused and only wanted to be loved. In the film, Oliver sings a song called “Where Is Love?”. It really resonated with me.

At that time in my life I felt completely rejected and unwanted. I had no idea where my mother and sisters were and I was lonely, scared and confused, just like the orphan Oliver in the movie. So when he asked, “Where is love”, I really understood him. And I wanted that answer, too.

I thought Love was somehow bound to my mother and, because she was absent from my life, I had no love. I was, therefore, unlovable. No one did or could love me.

It’s funny how children think about things.

Years later, once I had grown up, I began to realize that love didn’t come from just one source and I had, in fact, always been surrounded by love. My father loved me to pieces and my stepmother as well. I also had grandparents who loved me. I just felt too much of a whole inside to experience it. Like Oliver, I kept wondering where is love?

Gratefully I have come to realize that love comes from all sorts of sources. It comes to us from friends, family, lovers, devoted pets and from the Universe as a whole. I have many friends who love me as well as do my dogs and cats, my aunts, sisters, in-laws, my father and especially my amazing husband. And I feel that love every day and I revel in it.

Most importantly, love must come from inside us.

RuPaulLove is not something that is only to be received; that is selfish and empty and meaningless. Love is something that it must be given to others and it must be given openly, freely and wholly. We all must open your hearts and give of it freely and constantly. Only then does love have meaning, have balance and have value.

But we cannot just give love to others. We must love ourselves first and foremost. The entertainer RuPaul has a quote that I love: “If you can’t love yourself, how in the (heck) you gonna love somebody else?’

Now I’m happy to say, I know where love is. It’s here.

So this year, don’t ask someone else to be your Valentine, be your own. Love yourself. Once you can do that, the love will flow freely and you will be surrounded with love.


Joe Thornton

Great Conjunction Co-Founder