Real, genuine love is about putting another person before yourself.
You don’t learn this love when you’re dating- not really. You’re still on your best behavior, still getting flowers and making cards, still touching up your lipstick, and getting that high after you see one another. So really, it’s about you.
You learn it a bit when you’re married. You live together- sleep together, eat together. You make big decisions together. You give in when the other person wants to see a movie that’s not your taste, you make a nice meal even when you’re tired and if you were alone, you’d eat a frozen pizza, and you go out late at night when your hormonal wife demands chocolate or ice cream even though you’re tired and it’s cold out.
And if you are blessed with a child- you really learn it. You throw up for seventeen weeks and give any nutrition you eat to the developing baby. You stay up all night those first weeks, nipples bleeding and falling off, rocking and swaying and shushing. You sacrifice new clothes and entertainment to stay at home and be with her.
I am trying to nap, rest, gear up for the afternoon with Audrey- but find myself thinking about love. Love that is defined as simply the opposite of selfishness. The selfishness that infects mankind and drives the sin we see in the world.
And I am comforted by thinking that for me to love Dan now- means to be glad that he didn’t die a death where he suffered too long. Since we all have to die somehow, I am glad for that. I am glad that he didn’t struggle with a debilitating illness for months or years. And I am glad that he is done with the worries and struggles of this life- the bills, arguments, politics of daily life. I am glad to know that he is now perfectly wise and has great understanding and strength. I am glad for him.
Yes, I’ve felt anger- which I read is normal, especially when you’re left with a child to care for. But- this love is staking its claim now. While I am full of sorrow- I imagine you full of joy. And to put you above myself means that knowing that, I can go on. I’m not 100% there yet in my faith. But I will get there, and when I do- I will be truly happy for you-for your transition from cocoon to butterfly- and I will rejoice with you, even in my own sorrow.
This is me
this is so beautiful, julia… still grieving with you..
funny, this is my first comment on your blog and I see Koo has commented first.
Thank you for this post, Julia. I don't know why, but I was so glad to read it.