Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Love. Is. A. Choice.

As I type this, the Presidential hopefuls of 2016 are pacing anxiously in New Hampshire as America lunges towards another election.

As all Americans breathe in the palpable and nauseating mix of concern and hope in the air, these hopefuls are attacked from every side; at every turn, as philosophies and issues collide and, as we cling to what's left of our democracy, rightfully so. 

Marco Rubio was no exception as a homosexual man furiously accused and questioned why “he (Rubio) wanted to "push this man back into the closet."”

It was quickly evident that the banter between these two individuals would avail to no new understanding and this man scowled and whined into the cameras and to the media that “people don’t choose who they love.”

I completely reject that notion as not only delusional, but dangerous.

This whole issue, this whole nation, this whole election, this whole generation of mankind is operating under a modus operandi of a completely fictional definition of love. #thenotebook

It has us backwards in the most condemning of natures.

We don’t know how to love ourselves. We don’t know how to love our neighbors.

Because we don’t know what love even means.

Let’s put homosexuality and all that it entails entirely and utterly on the side for a moment.

This idea that we are "slaves to love" is not only preposterous it is dangerous.

It perpetuates a sexually violent and coercive culture ("boys will be boys").

It perpetuates abusive heterosexual and homosexual relationships ("but, I LOVE him").

It perpetuates families who are unable to draw safe boundaries.

Attraction, you could argue, and many would agree, is some sort of inexplicable biological and chemical concoction of anatomy and anomaly of which few of us (if any of us) have total “control” or consciousness.

But love?


Love. Is. A. Choice.

Always. Inherently. Totally. Completely.

It begins with the choice of our Creator to love us. Despite our complete and utter deserving of death.

It persists with our choice of loving our neighbor through charity and hospitality and service.

It ends with our choice to love ourselves not because of what we bring to the table, but because of what we have given.

Love. Is. A. Choice.

How toxic an idea that all I am as a wife and a mother can be over in a moment should my husband suddenly feel differently about me in his affection.

How dangerous a philosophy that my ability to care for my children and those around me are not of my own ability and own volition but of some mysterious whim of love orchestrated against my will and the will of my Lord.  

I reject the idea that to love is to be a wandering and aimless victim.

To love correctly and deeply and wholly is always a choice. 

In a world view where the end goal is personal happiness and "satisfaction" the ever rotating problem and the solution is a mere temporary placating of whim. 

In a world view where the end goal is communal and holy joy and purpose the problem and the solution is the choice to fall into the Word and will of God. 

It has nothing to do with whim / "love." 

It has everything to do with choice. 

The easy and cheap answer is I love you because I feel it. 
The hard answer is I love you because I choose it. 

I am in a happy, stable, hard, confusing, challenging, wonderful, messy marriage. 
I am here because I choose it. Every day. I choose him. I choose me. I choose us.

Regardless of my ever changing whim. Regardless of my "love meter." Regardless of "attraction." 

Our inclination to move forward in our view of love should not include abandoning the ship of personal responsibility and the scapegoating of our ever fluctuating hormones and desires. 

Just yikes. 

I didn't "get lucky" and "get wired" from day one with all the "right" hopes and dreams and desires. 

I didn't know anything about love.

Through the power of the cross Love came and rescued me. 

I will choose to live the rest of my life as an expression of that Love. 

The real Love.

The choice Love. 

The He-didn't-have-to-but-He-did-anyways Love. 

That's what I want. That's what I desire.

And, I believe, if you really think about it, and you're really honest about it, that's what you really want too. 

You are worth more than this cheap love sold on the streets and in the screens of this broken, hurting world.

You are worthy of pricey love. 

The kind of love that chose to climb up onto a cross and die for you. 

That's my Love. That's my Jesus. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

A Word on Marriage from My Grandparents

This past weekend I had the pleasure and honor of celebrating the 80th surprise birthday of my paternal grandfather, Colonel John F. Ferrick.

It was a weekend of family and heritage and my spirit is full of the time spent with loved ones during the whirlwind trip.

As our family (immediate family only was about 27 of us) lounged by the pool, tended to babies, recalculated plan after plan, set playlists for the party, and generally just enjoyed each other, one story in particular surfaced again and again.  

His wife, my grandmother and his Commanding Officer (his words; not mine), had spent more than a year orchestrating this beautiful birthday weekend.

In May of last year her plans for a wonderful surprise almost caught fire.

Although they have many shared assets as a married couple the two still hold separate checking accounts.
Upon mistake, my grandfather had opened her mailed bank statement and saw the charge for the deposit on the banquet room.  

From a generation of scrupulous money spenders and savers (rightfully so) he approached her about this generous charge with something along the lines of, “what in the world!?”

My grandmother, feeling like she needed to say something, said, “Now, Jack, just be careful or you might ruin something very special.”

And then, with the wisdom and maturity of 58 years of marriage; he totally and completely forgot about the conversation. 

Without going into specifics, or defending herself, my grandfather trusted her enough and respected her enough and loved her enough to simply let it go. Nothing more, nothing less.

And that is beautiful to me.

When he was reminded of that story this past weekend, he recalled that he did truly forget about that interaction entirely and replied that he was completely and utterly surprised when he noticed that the large crowd enjoying drinks by the pool Saturday morning were his children,  “adopted children,” nieces, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

My grandfather is not a forgetful nor careless man.

He chose to forget that moment because he decided, for the who-knows-what-time in their marriage, to give my grandmother the benefit of the doubt.

It was a deliberate decision

How can we today give our spouses the benefit of the doubt?

How can we take them at their word even if we don’t understand their actions?

What in their past can we choose to forget?

What can we decide to let go?