That “L” word.

There are days when I’m convinced that our human ability to feel is the bravest, most beautiful quality we possess. It takes courage to walk through the ups and downs this life hands us. It takes strength to let our emotions wash over us and make waves in our hearts.

But then there are days when I’m not so convinced. Feelings are complex. They are beautiful, yes. They allow us to connect with each other. They help us to understand one another. They are immensely powerful…

But they are also temporary.

We can’t be angry forever. Or sad. Or happy. We feel a million different things on any given day depending on what’s happening in the moment.

We are emotional creatures, designed to feel a whole range of emotions. Sometimes that’s wonderful. Sometimes it’s weird. Other times we wish we could just turn it off.

I think all too often we think of love as being just another one of our feelings. We say we love someone and treat it like it’s just another temporary emotion that we only feel under certain circumstances.

Love is not a feeling. Love is a choice.

I think about my childhood and the way I pictured love. I used to entertain daydreams of romance and knights in shining armor sweeping me off my feet. We’d ride off into the sunset to live happily ever after.

But that’s exactly the problem. Happily ever after.

Happily.

Happy is a feeling. You know… the temporary kind. The kind that doesn’t last “forever after.”

Turns out my fairytale dreams weren’t as dreamy as I thought.

As I’ve grown older, my picture of love has changed. I see it with a bit more grit now. If it’s easy all the time, it probably isn’t love, because love doesn’t equal happiness.

If that sentence offends you, I want you to take a second to think of all of the things you’d do for the person you love the most. I’d go a whole month without showering if I needed to. CONTEXT ALERT: I LOVE showering. I shower every day. Sometimes twice a day. I’d shower four times a day if I could. Being clean is my favorite thing ever. The point: unshowered me = SUPER unhappy me, BUT I’d do it for someone I really love.

So again…love doesn’t equal happiness.

Love isn’t about butterflies and excitement. Don’t get me wrong, those feelings are great, but they aren’t the foundational characteristics of love.

Love is hard.
It isn’t practical. It isn’t convenient.
MY GOODNESS. Love is SO inconvenient.
It doesn’t make sense. It’s messy. It requires humility and sacrifice….a lot of sacrifice. It demands that we admit our mistakes and commit to putting others before ourselves.

But love is good. And when we choose to stay and stick through the inconvenience and frustration, it builds into a painstakingly beautiful mess of selflessness.

So we should pick who we love with great care, knowing it’s a commitment that requires great effort, and when we’ve chosen who we will love, we must choose to fight through the good seasons and the bad. And we must know that at the end of the day, that is the stuff that makes up love- and to love is the bravest, most beautiful thing we can do.

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