Last year I got to watch my best friend get married to a truly great guy, and because she loves me and wants me to be happy she didn’t make me buy a hideous bridesmaid dress. So thank you for that! She did, however, ask me to do a reading for the ceremony. I immediately said of course and when I asked her what she wanted me to read – I was expecting a psalm or a poem, etc – she instead asked me to write something . . . and she didn’t want to read it or hear it until her wedding day . . . no pressure or anything! Ack! At any rate, I came up with this and wanted to post it today to say happy one-year anniversary to Jolene and Tim. All my love to you both and I still think you made a beautiful choice!
There are many occasions in life to symbolize when a girl becomes a woman, and a boy becomes a man. Some are manufactured, some earned and some merely attained through the passing of the years. I think it is best to leave symbols to literature and find our definitions through the living of life. Therefore I believe that a woman and a man are truly born of a realization. A realization and acceptance that love is not the thing of fairy tales. There are no knights in shining armor, problems aren’t solved in the span of a catchy song, and while you may get to ride off into the sunset, the story continues the next day.
No, love is not the thing of fairytales. It is much more powerful than that. It is more akin to the love that the poets speak of: a fire that can warm and enthrall the senses, or rage and burn through the night as a torrent of emotions engulfing all within its wake. It can be a fiend that slowly, imperceptibly fades away, leaving naught but its smoky ashes. These fires can be left to rage and fade, skip and jump where they will, or they can be harnessed and used to sustain you through to the end of your days.
Love is hard, because it is work. It is work that has to be done each day, because love is not unconditional. Love is a choice. A choice to recognize that even if your fire is raging, your partner’s may be flagging and need encouragement and a gentle stirring of their faltering embers so that they may burn brightly by your side instead of being snuffed out and engulfed by your heat. A choice to carry someone else’s voice in the back of your mind; to not always pick the option that is best for you and you alone. It is a choice to always say you’re sorry, because over time the little things can hurt just as much as the big. It is a choice to open oneself up, bare one’s soul and risk the whips and scorns of judgment from another human being; to make mistakes and risk carrying the scars of those mistakes with you for the rest of your days.
But it is also a choice to be seen and accepted for who you truly are. To know someone so well that when they look into your eyes they see to the very depth of your soul. It is a choice to share the good times, weather the bad, and when there are no words left to hold each other tight. It is the burning cinders that keep you warm at the end of a long, cold night.
Love is compromise. It is sacrifice, acceptance, forgiveness and joy. But above all, it is a choice, a beautiful choice. So may you stand together as Woman and Man and choose love, everyday, for the rest of your lives.