An older man man in the Happy Birthday greeting card section of Walgreen’s was picking up and rejecting card after card, mumbling as he went along. Seeing me, he turned and commented, “This was a lot easier back when we were having sex.”
Guessing what he actually meant is impossible, of course, but it is safe to assume that he was thinking nostalgically, mixing in his mind two feelings, a sexual urge and sentimentality, the combination playwrights, movie script writers, music composers, romantic novelists and even poets call love.
We are wrong, laboring under a common misconception of the nature of love.
Love is not a feeling.
It is a decision.
Were it not so, all of us would be forever prisoners of our feelings. We could only be in love when we had a certain combination of feelings, each of us having a combination that is different, if only in the slightest of details, from the set of feelings someone else calls love.
That business in the Bible of loving our neighbor would be nothing but hooey if love were a feeling. We could not love anybody else unless we felt like it, orders or no orders from on high.
But if love is a decision, we can decide at any moment to love any other individual or, for that matter, people who are not like us — people of different colors, ethnic backgrounds, national origins, sexual preferences or whatever. We can even decide to love people who have wronged us or who, say, insulted us at work today or cut us off in traffic or who are simply our definition of bad people.
We can even love our spouse after an argument — or, get this, in the midst of a knock-down, drag-out domestic dispute. We can simply decide to love them, which means we change our demeanor, we become kinder, we use nice words, we give up our jealousies, our prejudices and even … yes, even … our core beliefs.
The old man buying his wife a romantic birthday card can, at the spur of the moment, decide to love, feeling secretly pleased with himself when he selects the card he knows she will love, just as she is pleased with the remembrance.
All doing this transaction, neither party may never have exactly the same feelings they had during the years of their courtship. And why should they? Things change. Needs change. People change.
But a decision to love can be alive at any moment.
This is the reason, the only reason, we can even speak of peace on Earth. Peace on Earth could never come if we all had to come to similar feelings at the same time.
But it is very possible if two people decide to love, OK, make that 20 people or 200 or 2,000 or 200 million; whatever, but it will start with two.
It’ll come ever so slowly, one decision upon one decision upon one decision … and so on.
Who wants to go first?
Source:: Boston Herald