With Valentines Day just behind us, and seeing and hearing all the expressions of love (in all its many forms), I was thinking of when Charlotte was a newborn. People would come visit us, ooh and aah over the baby and say things like, "She's so beautiful, I think she's a keeper". Then they would look at Sarah and ask, "What do you think? Should we keep her?" Sarah, being three, didn't understand this question to be rhetorical, she took it quite literally, and would answer, "Yes!"
A few weeks later when the baby visits ended, Sarah and I were saying "I Love You" to each other and she, so sweetly and genuinely, added, "I'm going to keep you Mama." I was taken aback but smiled and replied back, "Well I'm going to keep you too, baby girl." I'll never forget that moment - so sincere in it innocence and yet so unknowingly full of wisdom about what love is truly about.
It seems that we are constantly bombarded by false images of love. Movies show people "loving" their spouses and then "loving" their boyfriends/girlfriends on the side. Everything looks so exciting and fun and adventurous, without portraying the hurt and betrayal. It's all "live in the moment" with no sense of commitment to anyone but oneself. And we are left confused. We think we can do the same. We don't seem to know what true love is anymore.
Love, to me, is not always fun and exciting, passionate and romantic. (Or else, I would also be divorced for long ago! Sorry honey!) These things are wonderful, yes! But, let's face it, I can have "fun" with just about anyone. Love is a decision. It is a decision to be committed. It is about staying even on the days when the feelings seem to have vanished into thin air. To have that loving feeling - it is the most amazing emotion in the world. To say "I Love You" is great. To hear "I Love You" in return is greater still. Too often, though, the words (important as they are) become only words and hold no meaning.
But, to me, to be able to say to someone "I Keep You!". No matter what. No matter how I feel today. No matter your faults, your insecurities, your craziness. No matter if we're fighting or making up. No matter what life brings. I keep you! And I keep you through it all. Now that's something. I sorta think Sarah had it right.
Here's to playing for keeps.
Can I hear an "Amen"?