I have been musing lately on love, like, and sacrifice. This time of year is one of my favorites – the grey skies, the sharpness in the air – but it is not yet the unending cold of winter. It’s a time for watching sunsets and moonrises from within a warm house, grateful for the beauty of the skies without and home within.
I went and had Thanksgiving with my proxy parents. They are really my brother’s in-laws, but then again, I consider my brother’s wife my sister, so it all works out. I have family by blood and family by spirit, and both are important. I try to spend my time with people I love, in whatever strength of love that happens to be. I hear horror stories of people having to get together during holidays and faking intimacy and I feel grateful that there is little of that in my life. The people in my life now are mostly there of my design, the result of my conscious yes or conscious no to spending time. I don’t want my life to unspool one thread at a time in unconscious decisions.
But what is love? What does it mean to love? And I think it comes down to whatever you are willing to give for the person you love. My girls, for example, I love them beyond all. It is the curse and the grace to love children the way parents do. In the beginning, I didn’t even know them, and yet even then, I would have died or killed for them. My life or my humanity, the most I have to give anyone. Luckily, I have not needed to give either. Instead, I give my time, my patience, my silence when my brain is too annoyed to be nice, and my smiles and kisses when I cannot hold back on how much I adore them.
Taking that as the upper boundary though, everything else is a gradient. I am graced and fortunate that I have good friends – friends I will gladly give my time and my effort. I can say that I love them – not to the extent that I love my daughters, but it is still love to me. It feeds itself, because I want to feel good about the person I am, and some of that is taking pride in making other people happy. I want to make the people in my life happy.
And all of life is like that – what is it that you want? To be altruistic, to be a visionary, to be smart, to be rich? What is it that you’re willing to give? Your time, your money, your weakness, your morality? And are you disciplined enough to hold on to what you want most rather than giving in to what you want now? Are the people you love the ones that build you up, make you more of the best of what you are, or do they bring out the worst of what you can be?