Sunday, February 9, 2014

"Love is a Living Thing"

With Valentine's day fast approaching the day of "sweethearts and love."
Romantic dinners, boxed chocolates, flowers and balloon boutiques and all various types of gifts to express our love to our loved ones.

I came across this story in one of Gerald Lund's new books that I had just finished reading and it really opened my eyes on me and how I look at love and my marriage to my best friend.  So without further words, let me share Brother Lund's story with you:

"As the time drew close for my mission, I was seriously dating a girl.  We had been dating long enough that we had talked about marriage.  She was a beautiful and wonderful young woman, and we were very close.  I loved her a great deal.  Once the mission call came, however, a cruel reality began to settle in on my mind.  I realized that there were going to be a lot of wolves prowling around while I was gone and that I would have no way to fend them off.  So I started  thinking seriously about formally asking her to wait for me.  And by formally asking, I meant putting an engagement ring on her finger.  
But another part of me was reluctant to tie her down.  I knew that two years was a long time for an attractive young woman to stay away from the dating and courting scene.  I was quite troubled about what to do.  So one day, I went out to the barn where Dad was working and asked if I could talk to him.  He put aside his work, and we sat down.  I explained to him my dilemma, then put it straight to him:  "Should I give her an engagement ring and ask her to wait for me or not?"
He thought about it for a long moment; then he said this:  "Well, you'll have to make that choice for yourself, but remember this: 
love is a living thing."
I gave him a puzzled look.  "what's that suppose to mean?"
He sat back.  "It means that love is not a piece of granite that you set up on a shelf for two years, then take back down when you return home and find it just the same.  Love is a living thing.  And living things require constant nourishment, or they wither away.  Living things can be hurt and damaged, even to the point where they die.  Living things are either growing or dying.  And that's true of love too."
I think I just stared at him.  That was so unlike my father.  I don't think he ever talked much about love or dating or courtship.  When I pushed him for a more definitive answer, he said it again.  "As you make your decision, just keep that in mind.  Love is a living thing."
I did keep it in mind, actually.  I thought about it a lot over the next few days.  And I finally decided not to ask her for any commitments.  "I hope you're still here when I get back."  I told her, "but I want you to be free to date if you choose."   
She was there when I returned.  And Dad proved to be right.  She was a wonderful woman.  She had grown and matured tremendously in those two years, as had I.  But things had changed between us, and after dating two or three times we agreed that it wasn't going to work and went our separate ways.  It was a painful moment for both of us--but how grateful I was that there wasn't an engagement ring to further complicate things!
That wasn't the end of Dad's influence.  I don't know how many times his words have come back to me over the years.  When my wife and I were having differences that were pulling us apart, I would hear those words again:  "love is a living thing."  I have shared that concept with many others over the years, in counseling sessions, in classes and workshops, and even to a couple of young missionaries wondering if they should give their girlfriends an engagement ring before they left on their missions.
I thank God for my father's gift of wisdom, for I was edified that day, and that made a huge difference in my life."

Just before my poppers walked me down the aisle he took my hand and looked me in the eye and said, "Lorie, this is going to be the hardest job you will ever undertake.  Don't throw in the towel when waves of trouble start crashing around you.  Hang in there, it will be worth the fight."
Over the years we have had many waves come crashing around and upon us and I clung to my poppers words of wisdom.
Times when I thought I just can't do this anymore his words would run through my mind, "Hang in there, it will be worth it the fight."  So I hung in there and have come to the point that yes, it was worth the fight.
There is something so magical and special that happens to a couple when they "hang in there."  
As I have looked back at our years together I can also see the wisdom in Brother Lund's father's words, "Love is a living thing."  I have learned that yes, love is a living thing in need of constant nourishment

and if not nourished it withers up and dies.
As we rush about trying to find that perfect gift for our special someone may we remember not to just nourish our love one day a year on Valentines day but each and every day.

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