Monday, February 14, 2011
Love is Like a Tree
I've been married for almost two months now. While that doesn't quite make me an "expert" on love (I'm pretty sure I'll never be that), I have learned a few things in the short time I've spent with the one I love.
One of the biggest lessons that I've learned in my relationship with Graham (pre and post marriage) is that love is a CHOICE. So often, we talk about "falling" in love and finding our "soul mate" as if it is something that we have no control over. Hollywood and generations of fairy tales have conditioned us to believe that love means perfection, constant bliss, and an eternal happily ever after. While I do believe in happiness, bliss, and the eventual achievement of perfection, love isn't as perfect or as easy as story books often make it out to be.
And, you know what, that's OKAY!
Not expecting perfection of myself or others is incredibly LIBERATING. Furthermore, as I've allowed myself to love, despite my imperfections, I've learned that the more I actively choose to love, the more my feelings of love grow. All the "warts" and flaws melt away (or at least don't seem to matter much) when we focus on improving the lives of others.
One of my favorite quotes on the subject is from Richard Paul Evans's book, The Letter. In it, an old man gives some advice to a young, floundering husband. I couldn't find the exact quote, so I did the best I could from memory:
"You talk about love like it's a hole, something you can fall in and out of. But real love isn't like that. It's more like a tree: grows if you mind it, dies if you don't. No one stands back of a neglected tree and says, 'Guess that tree just wasn't supposed to live,' but people do it all the time with their loves."
May I never neglect the tree that I am finding more and more beautiful and desirable each day I spend with my eternal best friend and companion. May I strive to love him as well as he loves me.
One more quote for the road. This one comes from the book The Christmas List, a kind of modernized version of A Christmas Carol. At the end, the main character says the following:
"We humans...are seriously flawed. The things that are the most necessary, the most critical to us, are the things we take most for granted. Air. Water. Love. If you have someone to love, you are lucky. If they love you back, you're blessed. And if you waste the time you have to love them, you're a fool."
I love you all. And today especially, my love goes out to the man who chose to love me, "warts" and all. I look forward to eternity spent with this wonderful man!