Tag Archives: choice

Falling in Love

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I’ve been hearing about that little phrase an awful lot lately. Emphasis on awful. Hear me out on this. I do not have anything against love. It’s the “falling into it” thing that bothers me.

I'm not the only one who thought of it...

I’m not the only one who thought of it…

Multiple people have asked me lately how I would feel if I fell in love and [had to tell everyone I was getting married, decided to move, gave up my cat lady blog, whatever – complete the sentence however you would like]. My verbal response differs, depending on who I am speaking to and how well that person knows me. But my inward response stays the same every time: I don’t fall in love.

“Falling in Love” carries with it an attitude of romance and euphoria for most. Unfortunately, in my experience, it doesn’t live up to its glamorous reputation.

I usually hear the term used to excuse responsibility for making stupid decisions. You know, the usual stuff:

  • I’m moving across the country to live with [that weirdo creeper] I met online. I’ve fallen in love.
  • We didn’t need to wait to get married. By the end of two weeks we knew we had fallen in love!
  • It didn’t matter that he had no job, no savings, no home, and no car. [It didn’t matter that his mother kicked him out for being a lazy slob.] I fell in love.
  • I knew he had a drinking problem and some anger issues. But I never thought he would hit me! I fell in love.
  • I wanted to be a good mother. I never planned on leaving my husband. But I fell in love with someone else.

I could continue. But I won’t. It drives me crazy. When people tell me that a couple fell in love, and that is why they are acting the foolish way that they are, I kind of want to mutter under my breath, “Well if they were paying any attention to where they were going – they wouldn’t have fallen… Morons.”

It’s not that I don’t like romance. It’s not that I can’t be influenced by sweet gestures or charming words. It’s just that love is a very powerful four-letter word. It’s not something that I want to just fall into. I prefer to gingerly step or perhaps cautiously slide into it. I feel as if a relationship should be entered with wisdom. Where there is not an abundance of wisdom, there is typically an abundance of foolishness.  As I’ve made clear, falling into love too often ends poorly. After all, if a person falls in love, completely by chance or by accident, that person can just as easily fall out of love. If they couldn’t help themselves on the way into the relationship, it stands to reason that they won’t be able to help themselves on the way out of the relationship. Hence, the divorce rate in America.

On the other hand, if one carefully plants a foot into love, and then steps more fully into it with the other foot, that same person must knowingly step out of love in the future if s/he ever wants to leave the relationship. The silly excuses disappear. When a choice to love is made, the person who made that choice accepts responsibility in that relationship. It’s no longer a coin flip as to whether or not the relationship will last. A relationship entered by practical choice still has room for butterflies and warm fuzzies. The wonderful feeling that most associate with “falling in love” can still be found when two people “step into love” instead. How do I know? Although my expertise is in singleness, I have been in love. And I didn’t fall into it. I hesitantly stepped in. And although things didn’t work out as I hoped they might, I would not trade the experience for any of my friends’ “falling in love” experiences. In fact, I find that conscious choice leads to a far more romantic situation. It’s nice to feel loved by someone who is temporarily blinded with giddy enthusiasm to all my flaws and weaknesses. But it’s absolutely fabulous when someone who can clearly see my flaws shows love to me. You mean, even after you’ve discovered all of these horrible things about me – you STILL want to be with me? WOW!

In fact, it kind of reminds me of Jesus and His love for humankind even after we rejected Him and crucified Him… Doesn’t the Bible suggest a husband should love his wife in that same manner? Hmmmm….

If you find yourself falling in love, please consider my words. Stop, catch your footing, and come to a decision. Is this relationship truly worth stepping into? Are you ready to be selfless? Are you capable of putting another person’s hopes, feelings, dreams, needs ahead of your own? Are you prepared to commit yourself to that one individual for the rest of your life no matter what hardships you encounter? Can you clearly see this person’s flaws and have you considered them? Has this person been given opportunity to see YOUR flaws and make the same consideration? If so, blessings in your relationship. If you’re not even close to that point, grab a hold of something and pull yourself out of whatever you’ve fallen into. It’s better to get those things over with now than it will be later.

Can't the brain and heart learn to work together?

Can’t the brain and heart learn to work together?

One last thing: if you ever see me “falling”, please scream these words back at me – or just beat me with a stick until I come to my senses. I’m sure I will appreciate the gesture someday. Just make sure you don’t confuse my “consciously stepping” for “falling”. Because if I’m consciously stepping, I might turn around and beat you back. 😉

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Free-Spirited Singleness

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I’m not a rebellious person. But I am a free spirit. Others often get the two mixed up.

I didn’t like to go to school. It’s natural to neglect that which you do not like… School was often neglected. My teachers told me if I did not show up to school, I would never show up to work and I would never hold down a real job. They mistook me for a rebel. A rebel does not show up because she is told to show up. A rebel is looking for someone or something to defy. A free spirit, on the other hand, is looking for a choice. A free spirit does not show up because she did not feel like showing up. A rebel can’t hold down a job because she cannot fight the compulsion to go against that which she is told. A free spirit can hold down a job, because she realizes choices have consequences, and those consequences help her decide how to make those choices she values so much.

I often skipped school to prove that I had a choice. I did not have to be there – although I was always told that I did. I went when I so desired. Many of my teachers viewed me as a rebel – acting out. In all reality, I was exercizing my love for freedom by escaping the prison I envisioned school to be.

I will always be a freedom-lover. It shows up in every aspect of my life. 90% I would choose to wear my seatbelt. No matter what. It’s a natural instinct to reach for the strap and stretch it across my body. But I resent the fact that wearing a seatbelt is forced upon me. If I don’t feel like wearing my seatbelt, I choose to flip off the government by hopping on my motorcycle instead. I equally resent that in New York it is mandatory to wear a helmet on a motorcycle. If I lived in another state, a state where riding without a helmet is legal, I would still choose to wear a helmet. Why? Because I appreciate my face. But I hate that I don’t have a choice where I live. I hate that my freedom is limited.

My free spirit, by nature, runs from boundaries. I felt as if my teeth were being pulled when a man asked me to commit to work for his company for at least a year during an interview. It took me at least three minutes to agree that I could commit for a year. I’m now approaching my fifth year with that same company. When I signed a year-long lease for my apartment, I nearly panicked. What if I want to move? What if I have the opportunity to live in another country before my lease is up? I sucked it up and signed the lease. My year has passed. Two months after my lease ended, my landlord and landlady brought before me a new lease. I told them that as long as I had a choice, I’d rather not sign a new one. I assured them I had no plans to move (because I don’t), but as long as I have access to that freedom – why give it up?

It’s this love for freedom that leads to my hesitation toward commitment. Hesitation? Okay, fear of commitment. Fear? Fine, terror.

I see a cage. It’s not that I do not want to get married. I want a choice. As long as I am single, I have a choice. If ever I get married, I will give up that freedom. It’s not that marriage is bad. It’s not that marriage should be compared to bondage. But it’s a commitment that eliminates the freedom I so enjoy. I imagine if I ever enter that covenant, it will be similar to my job or my lease. Despite my concerns, it will last and I will appreciate it until the end. But for my lease and for my job I promised a year. In marriage I will promise a lifetime. Anyone else feel intimidated by that?

Love at First Sight

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I’ll never forget the moment we met. He held his chin high and puffed out his chest. He gazed steadily into my eyes. He looked confident. And yet I could tell he yearned for me. He looked so dignified. So refined. Even behind bars. His eyes beckoned me. This was our very first encounter. Already I was in love.

I pointed directly toward him and I begged my sister, “Let’s take him out first!”

My sister, Chrissy, was drawn toward a different cat – a calico cat sharing a cage with some others closer to where we were standing. The one I fell in love with was isolated. She gave in and we asked the worker at the SPCA to pull him out of his cage first so that we could hold him.

Oreo worked his charm like magic. He rubbed against us and he purred. He cuddled affectionately. In all reality, he practically threw himself at us. After a few minutes soaking up all the attention he gave us, I turned to my sister and said, “Okay. We can look at the other one now.”

Chrissy’s brow furrowed slightly and she decided we wouldn’t. She was the one paying for this new family pet, and she did not want to come home with five cats instead of one like we originally planned. Fearful that she wouldn’t be able to choose between the two, we skipped out on the visit with her first choice and brought Oreo home to meet his new family.

I had prayed for my ideal cat. God answered my prayers directly when he gave me Oreo.

When my sister moved out of my parents’ house, she left Oreo with us. Everyone knew he was my cat. When I moved out of my parents’ house, he came with me. Nobody could deny that he was not just the family cat – he was my baby, my love.

I cannot argue with the concept of love at first sight. I experienced it myself. However, many insinuate that “love at first sight” is the story in and of itself. Most people believe that when a story starts with love at first sight, it will always end with happily ever after. This is where I disagree.

I’ve had plenty of opportunity to stop loving my Oreo. Although he is usually very gentle – he has been known to bite me. Although I am not a morning person and I refuse to feed him until quarter to 7 each morning, he does not hesitate to waken me at quarter to 5 hoping for breakfast. And although he is not a huge talker, he will nag continuously when I am exhausted and he is hungry. Let me tell you: it is hard to love him when he has been meowing in my face for a solid hour from 5 to 6am. Although I love it when he cuddles, I do not appreciate when he jumps onto my bed and attempts to sit on my face. If I were to focus on these aspects of our relationship, I could very easily fall out of love. Love may be initiated with a single spark, but it takes some work to keep that flame burning.

He’s had just as many, if not more opportunities to stop loving me. How about when I lock him in my spare room so I can continue to sleep and forget about him so that he doesn’t get fed his breakfast until after 9am? How about last week when I kicked him in the head with my motorcycle boot? How many husbands would be eager to forgive their wives for a stunt like that? (In my defense it was a TOTAL accident! He was rubbing up against my legs when I wasn’t expecting it and I started to fall over. I kicked him while I was trying to regain my balance.) How about when we moved into my apartment and he got fleas? It took me more than a month to get rid of them! Through all of that, despite our lack of ability to verbally communicate, Oreo kept on loving me. He still crawls into bed with me each night. He still climbs into my lap after I’ve been away.

Love at first sight is just a beginning. Love that lasts is a series of continuous choices – despite the pains and heartaches every relationship encounters.