A short film I made with my daughter. Be happy, be well.
Love is a choice.
” Love is a choice. Its not something you fall for or into. Its something you choose everyday.” ~Janet Houle ~ This was my mother’s wisdom to me.
Growing up I never saw my parents fight. Not one time. My dad was 55 and my mom 49 when they adopted me. They were of the WW2 era and I noticed the difference in them from the start. As I got older I started noticing my friend’s parents yell, scream, argue and name call in front of not only their children but me. This was foreign to me as I never saw this in my own home.
It wasn’t till later that I learned from my older sisters that my parents were never really in-love. What?? How could this be?
My dad for instance was always such a gentleman with my mom that he would do things such as open doors. The car, the house, at the store (before auto doors) he always put her first. He went to work every day, never did he stay home sick. He consistently provided for her, and never once did I hear him complain about work. He would buy her flowers once in a while with that sheepish grin, trying to hold back his happiness. He would drive home with twinkles in his eyes. He never went out without her, or came home drunk. He never once carried an argument or called her a name. He ‘Loved'(verb) her.
Likewise my mom took the same care and showed the same respect as he. She always took care of their home, prepared meals when she got home first, otherwise he would. She was always busy in the home making sure her husband had clean clothes to wear, that he came home to a comfortable haven after a long day at work and out in our walnut groves. She respected him at home and in public places, never undermining him. Even though she was smarter than him and they both knew it. She bought him cards once in a while with witty-fun that he liked. She always let him be a man, and honored and supported him. Respectfully, she ‘loved'(verb) him.
In these moments of happiness within each other I would see them look into each others eyes, full smiles..with their partials mismatching the colors of their natural teeth… And in those moments you could FEEL their love.
How could it be they weren’t in-love? What was I missing?
Well my mom was married at 15, for six months to another man. Upon leaving her first husband for abuse, she was a divorcee with child. In the 40’s this was very taboo. My dad happened to have come home from the war, injured by a grenade, and moved in on her street. “Fat Houle” he was known as by his friends, because he was always a little big. So a marriage of convenience commenced.
They were married for 55+ years out of commitment and covenant. They chose everyday to fulfill their vows, to love, honor and cherish. They did it when they didn’t want to, and when they had to. Divorce wasn’t an option. They chose to put their own needs aside and love another.
Thats what love is, your own selfishness surrendered to another. It was never about how much one met ‘their’ needs, desires, or how happy they were made. It was how could they serve and help their spouse that day.
In the end my mom cared for my dad for years as he slowly slipped away from Alzheimer’s. The struggles and battles of a decaying mind were staggering. But she lived for him. She dressed him and fed him and cared for him in his dissolving child state. She loved him with a love that would rival any love story. Why? Because she chose to love. And at that point she couldn’t do anything but love him. They were one soul.
What was their reward? A lifetime of love, security and memories. Commitment kept them together to the end. True love bound them and carried them through the impossible times. Honor wrapped them with a protection of friendship. Respect planted them near waters of strength. They went the distance, by giving themselves to another. Trusting through the hurt that their bonds were unbreakable.
Their example shows me that even if one gets the joy of falling head over heals, everyday after that, love is a choice.
Choose to love the one your with, it’s worth it in the end.
(Photo by Adam Houle)
Battle with fear.
As I think about my greatest fears today, the lies and accusations of my heart seemingly grow as I feed the fear with my time and energy. The fear of that imagined becomes a mountain of despair, I’m left hopeless time and time again.
But then I’m gently reminded of why I fight. Love. LOVE is the only reason, and as I focus on that perfect love(because it’s selfless) and I’m strengthened. My hope rises and soars. The strength returns to my bones. I’m ready again for another day of absolute war, because I love.
I love. And because of that…I am not afraid.
I choose to stand.
I will not be moved or swayed in my course.
I will not be succumbed to the terrors beside me.
I will focus on perfect love, because in the end, it IS what remains.
Perfect love endures all, is all.
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear. -1John 4:18
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