Friday, January 24, 2014

All You Need Is Love

When Mike and I got married, we created our own ceremony.  We wanted something unique and individualized.   I scoured the internet for various types of unity ceremonies that weren't just candles and sand.  We decided on using a handfasting ceremony, based on pagan wedding traditions from long ago, which worked perfectly for us since neither one of us are religious.  I modified the ceremony to modernize it and make it less "Mother Earthy".   I loved everything about that day.  Every piece of it makes me happy.  I could really write pages and pages about that day and share all of my pictures, but I shall refrain for now.

A good friend of ours, who was a notary, agreed to officiate.  Before the wedding, she asked Mike and I to send her our thoughts on Love so she could incorporate them into her opening remarks.   Recently, another friend of mine needed some help organizing her own wedding, and in looking through some of my old files, I came across what I sent my officiant.   It's just as true today as it was then - and it will continue to be true for years to come.   

Love is comforting.  It’s like a blanket on a cold night or a cool breeze on a hot day.  Love is what you need when you need it –and  because you need it.  Love is slipping into a hot bathtub that has just the right amount of water, bubbles, and support.  It fits around you. 

Love is a partnership.   It can not truly exist without two halves working together.   Love is thinking of what’s best for the whole before considering what each part wants.  Love is compromising me for you and then you for me.   Love is looking out for the other person and recognizing that this other person is on your team and wants what is best for the team.  Love is BEING a part of that team willingly and unconditionally.

Love is trusting.   You place your heart in someone else’s hands and they place theirs in yours.  You trust in them to take care of your heart.   To hold it softly and carefully.  To protect it from harm.  You trust in them to do this job without fail – and you do the same for them.

Love is passionate.   Love creeps into your thoughts even during the most mundane parts of your day and stirs up excitement.  It quickens your pulse when you least expect it.   It sweeps you off your feet and carries you away.  And you let it – because where would you be without it?

Love is timeless.  True love creates butterflies throughout the years, not just at the beginning.   New love is easy to feel.  It’s the “settling in” love that you have to pay attention to.  It’s subtle, but still there.  That tingly feeling you get when you’re around the other person.   It’s a familiar tingle, but it’s a spark still strong enough to start a fire if we let it.

Love is growth.   You change and grow in the face of love.  Who you were before love it is not the same as who you are during it, or who you will be after it.   Love changes you – and you change for it.   Love is growing with each other, for each other, and because of each other.    Love is knowing neither one of you is the same person as when you first met, and that’s okay.  Love is having a solid appreciation for who the other has become, and what they have helped you become.  Love is being excited for how each of you will change and grow together.    Love is knowing life is not stagnant, and you should not be either.  Every day should be a new opportunity to make yourself a better person.   Love is two people becoming better together. 

Love is daily.   It is important to make time for each other in the day to day routines of life, even if it’s just 5 minutes to talk about one thing that made you smile, made you sad, made you angry, or made you think.   You have to set aside time to nurture your relationship, to talk to your partner, to connect with them.  Sometimes, it’s a fantastic date night.  A dinner, a movie, and…whatever else comes your way.   Sometimes, you might get lucky and get a whole weekend of togetherness…or GASP…an entire week of vacation.   Those are important traditions  to keep going.  Weekly, monthly, yearly as needed.   But, a connection must be made EVERY day.  Whether it’s a long walk, a short talk, or a post-it on the fridge that says “I love you.  Have a good day”.   Connections don’t just happen.  You have to put forth the effort to make them happen – to continue to make them happen.

Love is all you need.   Well, not quite.  In addition to love, you need the desire to keep it going.  You need the willingness to navigate around the potholes of life as well as the willingness to take the time to celebrate your triumphs throughout the journey.    You need the humility to recognize that no one is perfect all of the time, including you.   You need the strength to recognize that love is not butterflies and moonbeams all the time.  Love is not just rose petals and sunsets, strawberries and champagne.   Love is late nights at work to put food on the table.  Love is stopping at CVS for cold medicine and someone’s favorite ice cream. (Chocolate Chip cookie dough, BTW)   Love is cutting coupons, making beds, and doing dishes.  Love is work.  Love is sacrifice.  Love is tough.   Love is worth it.  Love is mine.

Mike, being a man of few words, sent her basically the same sentiment, but in a much shorter format.  Thinking back to my wedding day, it was a wonderful day not just because it was uniquely mine - and not just because it was also a rockin' good time - but because it was the moment my heart had been waiting for my entire life.

I have learned more about myself, my beliefs, and my surrounding circle over this last year than in any of the years leading up to it.  Almost everything in my life is completely different now than it was less than 12 months ago.  Except for one thing - my view on what it means to love someone.  When faced with tragedy, you are shaken to the core.  As you rebuild, you either keep or discard the pieces of yourself that have fallen apart.   The pieces you choose to keep may be tattered and torn, but they are sturdy and strong and true.   That's why you keep them.  They become the corner stones of your new self.   The piece I wrote for my wedding shows probably the only remaining part of the "old" me that still exists today.   And I am so very glad that has not changed.   

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