Love is a Choice
It is 1980 something. I’m sitting and feeling terrified as a newly minted high school freshman in religious ed class. A tiny Catholic Nun utters these words, “Love is a Choice”. Snickering sounds are heard with everyone giving each other a knowing nod, “what does a nun know about love”?
Then she asks the students, “Is love a feeling or a choice?”. She polls students to see where each fall into the category. The Nun asks us to shout out some favorite songs describing love. Popular love songs in the 80’s contain lyrics such as “feeling so good”, and “feeling so right” after making love. Yup, everyone agreed Love is a feeling. To which the Nun mocks jokingly, “Ha! If you all think love is a feeling, then you either won’t ever get married or maybe you’ll just be miserable!” A bold statement coming from a nun! Even my favorite love songs titled “Open Arms” and Bette Midler’s, “The Rose” are met with snickers. “Love is a flower and you, its only seed…” Seems very poetic to me! The nun asks us to take out our bibles and turn to 1 Corinthians, Chapter 13 verses 4-8:
She points out accurately what the verse does not say, “love feels patient, love feels kind, love does not feel jealous”. The operative words are verbs: is, bears, hopes, endures. “Love is a choice”, she says confidently. It is our choice to bear, hope, endure, act with integrity, and give love. The nun, advises us to do an experiment and replace the word “Love” with a person’s name who is important in our lives. “(Name) is patient, (Name) is kind…” This lesson plan shifts my whole perspective about “love”. I keep this lesson in my heart during my dating phase. In my twenties, I can sense when a person is offering romantic love versus true commitment.
“I’d rather be alone for the right reason than be with someone for the wrong”. ~ movie, Somekind of Wonderul
“Wait…love is a choice? Love is not an Emotion? What are you talking about?!!!” -Nikki
Love is Constant
Karla McLaren explains in her book, Language of Emotions, that “love is constant”. She writes:
“when we love truly we can experience all our free-flowing, mood state, and raging rapid emotions (fear, hatred, grief, or shame) while continuing to love and honor our loved ones.”
Love is Giving
My belief that “love is a choice” does not sound romantic to my young daughter. This lesson, I still hold close to my heart. It guides me and my husband through the struggles of autism and losses.