“But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. “ Romans 5:8
Love is unconditional.
Rick was an example to me of God’s great love.
He loved me thru it all.
No matter how bad his day was, no matter how bad my day was - he loved me.
No matter how intense our argument might be - he loved me.
Rick and I married young.
I was 19, he was almost 21.
We were immature in dealing with marriage.
Those first 4 years or so we would disagree about something trivial, and it would escalate quickly into a full blown argument.
And the word of “divorce” was spoken more than I care to admit.
We had agreed before we ever got married that when we would argue, we would NOT be running to a family member or a friend.
Not calling them on the phone, not “going home to Mother”, either.
Nor would we go out of the room from one another until we had worked our way thru the disagreement/argument.
I’m glad that we made that decision.
Those first years, that decision proved to be our anchor at the worst of times.
One day we were having a very heated argument, and one of us (I don’t remember which one) said something to the effect of, “Maybe it’s time to get that divorce!”
Suddenly Rick sat down in his big easy chair, and became very quiet.
I stood at the arm of his chair, and felt like I had been kicked in the gut.
Everything in me knew this was it.
Our life together was going to be over now.
Rick, looked up at me slowly, and my heart stopped.
He had tears in his eyes, that had already leaked down his face.
He slowly and quietly reached out and took me by the hand.
He pulled me into his lap, and turned my face to look into his eyes.
“Do you love me?”, he asked.
“You know I do”, I responded.
Tears now falling down my cheeks, too.
“I love you, too”, he answered. “I have loved you for so long, even before I knew I did. And I want to love you for the rest of my life here on this earth, and into eternity.”
Barely able to whisper, I said, “I do, too. I want to love you, and I want you to love me.”
For what seemed like hours we just sat there looking into each others’ eyes, watching the tears fall.
Finally, he took my hand and laid it against his cheek, then with his other hand, he laid it on my cheek.
And these words he said, softly, quietly, but oh so firmly:
“Then this is the way it is going to be. I choose to love you even on the bad days. You choose to love me even on the bad days. We are going to love one another and stay with one another thru it all until the end of life. NO MORE forever will we speak the “D” word. It is forever banned from our vocabulary, from our home. It will NOT be threatened, it will NOT be mentioned. It is NOT an option. We are in this together. For better. For worse. For richer. For poorer. In sickness and in health. Do you hear me? Do you agree with me?”
I could not speak.
I simply nodded my head.
And he pulled me down against him.
I remember sitting there in his lap crying into his shoulder, while he held me, and chose to love me.
Love is a choice.
It is an act of will.
It doesn’t come easy.
Emotions come easy.
Emotions also sway back and forth.
Even on the worst of days, in the most nightmarish times - Love stays.
Today, with these memories flooding my heart, and knowing how that God chose to love me before the foundations of the world -
I face the challenge of proving to myself that I love ME - and that I willingly make that CHOICE.
My question is how do I demonstrate that choice of love to me?
The demonstration of love between Rick and I after that momentous day came easier than ever.
It’s hard to describe in words.
But we looked for ways to say, to show, to demonstrate, our love choice for one another.
We challenged ourselves to go beyond the emotions.
We proved to one another thru it all - I choose to love you.
Sometimes it was a note written - whether given to the other, or hidden where it would be found.
Maybe a small gift bought for no reason, other than because we found joy in surprising one another.
A foot rub after a long and tiring day.
A cold glass of tea on a hot afternoon of working.
There were literally hundreds of things that we did and said in those years of life together ... I wonder now how many times we did something with the letters SHMILY written or said?
SHMILY - See How Much I Love You.
Acts of choice and will.
Trying to find those out of the ordinary acts that would make SHMILY come shining thru.
In these 6 years of being a widow, I have felt the loss of SHMILY with great magnitude.
I often find myself remembering these things he did, that I did.
And realizing the emptiness and loneliness of not having that in my life these days.
Someone has said that “grief is just love with no place to go”.
I have tried, oh how I have tried, to show this love and care to others.
Mostly to have it cast aside, or totally rejected.
Or to be told “It’s not enough”.
So, as I sit here today, with a glass of ice water, feeling the breeze blowing thru my hair, listening to the birds singing their songs ... I resolve to choose to love ME.
And to prove to myself SHMILY!
How can I love others as I love myself, if I don’t love myself?
(that question that started me on this journey ;) )
And again, how do I demonstrate that choosing to love ME?
God chose to love me.
Rick chose to love me.
It’s high time that I choose to love me, too.
I cannot surprise myself with a note, or with a small gift.
Unless there really is a way for the left hand to not know what the right hand is doing ;) - I haven’t figured that one out yet, just saying.
But, I can be more kind - without judgment, without criticism, without condemnation or guilt.
I can make the time to read a good book ...
... play a few minutes of a game on my phone
... enjoy a movie
... take a nap
... get my nails “did”
... “surprise” myself with a yogurt cone from Braum’s ever so often
And I can look for those little treasures that God has hidden for me in my days.
... really listen to the song of the birds
... feel the sun upon my face
... enjoy the breeze blowing my hair and tickling my nose
... take notice of the wildflowers that bloom, even the smallest ones
... really taste the cold water, feel it go down a dry throat
Maybe choosing to love ME isn’t as hard as I first thought.
My thoughts are whirling with ways to make this choice.
Lord, teach me Your ways for me in this.
Thank You for my husband who loved me the most, even on the bad days.
In Jesus’ Name
Life goes on -
Website designed & developed by Margaret McCoy
God is God over the storms in my life & world -
and I am His.
Trusting in Him. Holding to His Promises as He holds me.
Learning to laugh, to love, & to live ... again - without Rick, but with God
Life goes on ... even when we don't want it to.
Great grief is indicative of a great Love.
Rick, my Sweetheart.
Margaret, his Beloved.
Always & Forever.