Love Is a Choice, Not a ‘Feeling’ – Part 1

I am a little sad today because I remembered a story my mother told me about a lady who came to her hospital. This woman had been suffering from cancer for years now, was married and had a family in town. The whole time of her visit, the woman kept saying how wonderful everyone was with her and how she tries not to burden anyone with her things so she chooses to go to appointments and hospital stuff on her own etc. But towards the end of the visit, she burst into tears and that’s when my mom realized that in fact, she was trying to cover up the fact that she was getting no support but trying to convince herself and others she was okay with doing all this on her own.

How sad it is that people today choose to so blatantly disregard the suffering of not even a stranger, but their own daughter, wife, cousin, sibling, mother etc. How easily we give up on our marriage vows? When we said, ‘in sickness and in health, in wealth and poverty, in joy and sorrow’, we must have really meant to say, ‘ in health, joy and richness’ or ‘for a limited period of sickness, poverty and sorrow that is within my comfort zone, after which the previously stated vows become invalid’, because otherwise, this person’s just a burden, right? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you should put up with violence or anything, just pointing out that it seems like these days, people leave marriages for much, much less than that.

And what is this, ‘ I fell out of love’ business? Since when did we begin to think that was a legitimate excuse for being unfaithful or leaving? I don’t think people understand that love is a choice. It’s sweat, tears and bloody work (uh, remember that guy Jesus? Or Maximilian Kolbe? or the Trinitarian order?). You want an example of true, blind love, look those guys up. You will see truly how much respect the word love deserves because they gave it to people they didn’t know or live with, they gave it without making vows to them or birthing them, and they gave it without their recipients even asking them for it. That’s love. It’s a choice you make to forsake your own comfort or desires for someone else to be comfortable and happy. You choose to do it everyday, in difficult and easy moments and you choose to work at it and solve problems and fix issues because you choose to love, which means not taking the easy way out or being passive and ‘waiting for the feeling’ to come back or the ‘spark’ or whatever the movies are calling it these days.

You choose to love and soon realize how much of this stuff movies sell to you as love or a relationship is really laughable and trivial. Like the infamous ‘leave the toilet seat up or down’ debate. Seriously, who gives a flying fish? You think something that takes a 3 second push in either direction to solve, is an important debate in a relationship or a serious topic of conversation? Yes, let’s talk about this for hours but not about real things that will impact our relationship like religion, kids, family, career, money….no we’ll let those guys silently drive us crazy until we finally decide to leave you 3 kids and 4 years of marriage later. It’s a toilet seat, not the flipping end of the world! Take that time and go do something useful, for the love of goodness in the world! Next time someone brings the topic up or anything else equally trivial, say, ‘You know what would be more useful than having this argument? Making some PBJ sandwiches and handing them out to the homeless who don’t have a toilet to their name’.

Speaking of movies, what is this business of  ‘Stay with me here and don’t go to Paris for that internship that sounds like the best thing that could happen to you’ ? What?! You call that love? When you love someone, you want what’s best for them, what makes them happy, not a chance to snog for 5 minutes. If that were your sister in that position, would you tell her to stay for the guy she likes (because let’s face it, there hasn’t been enough talking between the 2 to call it love yet), or would you tell her to go to Paris and continue talking to that guy while there because we have phones, and Google Hangout and Facetime, remember? If my brother were in that situation, I’d tell him to go to Paris, not the other way around, because I love him and I want him to get somewhere in life, and have a future job so he can support any future family with this girl he likes. Because this is real life, not a movie and love in real life is more than a look, a date and a kiss. It’s a lot of talking, a lot of sharing, a lot of praying and a lot of actively choosing to love, rather than pursuing other available options even when you’re on your last nerve fiber.

Next part coming up…

7/20/13

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