I did something I rarely do. I sat at the TV flipping through the 'holiday happy love' junk. Dozens and dozens of sappy situations to feed our emotions (and our discontentment). Every channel offered 'the spark', the glow, that tingly feel good thing that is suppose to be love.
Not one to deny those loves exist, I am one to say those moments are not constant. The warm, fuzzy emotion of love is fleeting, even occasional in real life. Images given to us by media and entertainment toy with us, pressing us to believe that is the one and only true love.
Love is a choice; an action; a daily thought that is tested and tried- pushed to its limits. Love challenges us to look at the deepest parts of ourselves and face what we often choose to hide. Our vanities and virtues are tested by love-
as we are placed in a place of humility for the needs of another
as we stand back for another to make their own choices no matter the outcome
as we look past the mirror and see the darkest parts of ourselves
as we face who we are forced to reckon with that darkness and move forward.
Over the many years of my life, the pain and test of dark, deep love has surfaced and subsided. So many times it pushes me to places in my heart I dare not look (nor do I want to). Some moments creep up on you, some hit you like a bus:
as our dreams are not reality and others don't play by 'our rules
as our spouses are imperfect and flawed (as we are) choosing a path we didn't
as our children grow and make choices and mistakes of their own
as loved ones come to a place of need.
There is a beauty in choosing this dark, difficult love; in submitting to it, facing it, and working through the fire it brings. Nothing compares to the emotion, pain, and joy found here. When the dark moments pass, sweet release reveals the precious, secret reality:
there is no greater love that this
there is no easy path to it
there is no more precious a gift that to be given the opportunity to love
in the dark, difficult, humble and gracious