Everyday we do it. In little ways and big ones, with small decisions and life changing decisions, everyday, we make a choice. We choose to smile, to stay, to go, to hold on, to release, to drink, to be sober, to eat, to work out, to run a marathon (..ps: I choose not to do this). We choose to hate, to isolate, to ostracize, to retaliate, to criticize, to encourage, we choose a million things all day long. If we are breathing, we are making choices. Chief among those choices is LOVE. I used to get lost in the feelings, thinking Love was something you felt. You were either in love or you weren’t. One day my mentor taught me a brilliant truth. She said, “Tyler, romance is a feeling, LOVE is a choice.” Any of us who have ever been married or in a long-term relationship know that feelings of romance, lust, and attraction will have their ups and downs, but the strength of the relationship will always be based on the choice to Love.
For me, to choose Love comes somewhat naturally. It isn’t a very difficult choice for me. Often times it’s a scary choice, if I let my history talk to me about my future, but it hasn’t proven to be terribly hard. I am a woman who can Love against the odds. It’s just the way I was born. Hate and anger are rare for me. Don’t worry, I have other issues, glaring character defects, but as Love is concerned I have been given an extra amount of grace.
What is the most difficult for me, what keeps me up at night and wakes me early in the morning, what puts knots in my tummy, and heartache in my chest….. is the choice I am powerless over, the choice someone else makes. Just today I woke up thinking of two people in my life who I desperately wish would make different choices from the ones they are making. They are two people I deeply love. However, what I have learned about TRUE LOVE is that it allows another person to make their own choices, without manipulating, coercing, or controlling. True Love says, I love you no matter what and nothing you choose will change my choice to love you. Even if your choice is not to love me, my choice is still to love you. I thought Love required all parties to be involved, it doesn’t. I can be the Love, stand in it, and hold the space regardless of the other person. Now, this doesn’t mean I put my life on hold or allow my spirit to suffer abuse. Love also knows how to detach and set boundaries. Love isn’t the skinny blond rushing into the arms of Mr. tall dark and handsome at the end of a Hollywood movie. No, Love is more like an enormous lion roaring in the face of what would try to harm or injure, in the African wilderness, with mud on its mane, and blood on its teeth. Love is stronger than we can even imagine. Love is a mother that never gives up. Love is a friend that stands by you when you can’t stand by yourself. Love is a ride to rehab, rebuilding a house in ruins, holding a sick child, flying through the night to make it to a five-year old’s soccer game. Love is not convenient. It is a choice. And furthermore Love is giving someone else the right to make their own choice.
In the rooms of 12 step recovery there is a saying when dealing with addiction. They say, “you didn’t cause it, you can’t control it, and you can’t cure it, but you can contribute to it.” I can’t cause, control, or cure another person. What they choose is theirs. They have a Higher Power, as do I. However, I can contribute to it. I can get in the middle and manipulate, attempt to change, contort myself into all sorts of emotional postures attempting to arrest an outcome favorable to me. Or, I can contribute the gift of respect, detachment, boundaries, and TRUE LOVE. I can love someone no matter what, which means, Love, the thing I was first after, I have. When I choose to Love another, the Love is in me, therefore I am, “in” Love. That little saying, from above, continues. After we figure out we can’t change anyone, that we aren’t powerful enough to choose for them, that free will is their God-given right, after all that we are offered another suggestion. “Get out of their way, get off of their back, get on with your life.” ( And often times, “get some help for yourself.”)
So, there you go, there it is. Today we have a choice. I choose Love. What do you choose?
—sending you Love wherever you are in the world.