"In the flush of love's light, we dare be brave and suddenly we see that love costs all we are, and will ever be. Yet is it only love which sets us free."
Love is scary. It's portrayed as this big boisterous monster that swoops into your heart unexpectedly and makes you fall head over heels for someone. It's described as the naked child with the bag full of arrows shooting the first person his eyes land on and his stupid arrows can reach.
We grow up with these images of love in magazines, television shows and movies and it all seems so easy and so unbelievable. They make love look so doable but also so unsustainable, it happens all at once and then the movie is over but you don't see what happens next.
What happens when the little quirks that they loved become the small things that they're starting to hate? What happens when their core values don't match? What happens when they get into another argument about the same old thing and their tempers get the best of them? What happens when the magic wears off?
I don't see a lot of movies that portray those things. Films that get to the heart of life and not only show you the bells and whistles but also the thorns and spurs. I didn't learn the ABC's of lasting love from movies but I did learn it from my parents.
It wasn't until recently that I became aware of all of the lessons that I've learned about love from watching my parents choose to love each other everyday of my entire life. My parents have been married for 36 years and I've been lucky enough to be an eye witness for 27 of those lovely years.
If I use my parents as my main example I can tell you that love is so much more than just an hour long movie or a lifetime special. Love is choosing to quit your job and live off of one income to home school seven children and make sure that they have the best education possible. Love is having patience and being intentional about being kind and using thoughtful language even after working long exhausting days.
Love is a choice. Love is choosing, after 36 years, to still go on adventures and to still do the things that made you fall in love in the first place. The real thing, the 'we've been married for 50 years' kind of love, does not just happen with the flick of cupid's wrist. Real love takes work, it takes effort, it requires that you die to yourself and put the well being and needs of that other person before your own and that they do the same for you.
The stories that I see in movies and on TV pale in comparison to the romance, commitment and love that I've seen my whole life in my parent's relationship.
I used to think that I didn't know what love was. I thought that I would be scared when I found it and that being in love meant that I had to lose pieces of myself. None of that is true. I know what love is. I know love because I've been surrounded by it my entire life. I know love because God goes out of his way to saturate me in his daily. I know love.
So whenever I get to that point in my relationship where all of my daily decisions lead me to falling in love, I'll know what to do. I won't run, like I always thought I would but rather I'll continue to make choices that nourish and build our love. I'll embody the patience of my father and the thoughtfulness of my mother and create a life that teaches my children what a real and authentic love story looks like.