Advanced living 101

In earlier entries, I’ve discussed different descriptions of love, courage, and responsibility. This week, I had an epiphany about true love that concisely defined its essence. I’m calling this epiphany “Advanced living,” and here’s the first part of what I’m sure will be a recurring theme.

I happened to catch the movie “Yours, Mine, and Ours” — the old version with Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda — that happens to be one of my all-time favorites. So much of the movie enchants me, most especially because it’s based on a true story. Henry Fonda has a line in the movie that he delivers during a sequence when the family is trying to get Lucille Ball’s character to the hospital to deliver their 19th child and the oldest girl is caught necking with her boyfriend on the downstairs couch. To paraphrase (sorry– I can’t remember the precise line), he says “Love isn’t about sleeping with someone. It’s about waking up with them and going through the dingy, everyday things.” To me, that one line says so much. But like I usually do, I want to take this thought and elevate it to a new level.

In my life I am simultaneously preparing for Christmas and contemplating a change that will alter the course of my family’s destiny. Whether or not my family realizes it, I see more than I let on. I watch my younger daughter who took one of her teddy bears to her grandmother to donate it to a child who didn’t have one– then brought a blanket for the bear so it wouldn’t be cold. This same child was very upset with me when we didn’t have time to get on the computer one morning. I was a little confused by her upset until later that day, when we were able to go to the website she requested — so she could purchase her sister a Christmas present. Finding out about the site, my older daughter wanted to do the same in return. I also watch my darling husband, who has been selflessly helping my aging parents with some of the larger tasks around the house. He has pressure washed the backyard, steam-cleaned the carpets, carried the groceries, and countless other tasks that are a challenge for them. He does it without being asked or expecting a reward. The change that we are contemplating will mean initial sacrifice to bring our family to a new level of opportunity.

I’ll bet you’re looking for the connection. It’s the first section of the Advanced Living course:

  • Love is not glamorous– at least, not most of the time
  • Love is challenging, but well worth the price
  • Love’s manifestations are not obvious and the real signs of it are so subtle that it’s easy to overlook them
  • Most importantly: Love is advanced living.

Using these new guidelines, I’ve reflected on the people whom I’ve self-defined as having loved over my life. I now see how many of them truly loved me, and how many have liked me and used my love for their own ends. I’m not ashamed of having given the love away, because the giving has enable me to grow into this part of my evolution. It does, however, make me more keenly aware of how beautiful my children and husband are, and how lucky I am to be able to appreciate the purity of their love.

Warning: Advanced living is a journey with such sights as Euphoria Heights, Adversity Abyss, and the Plains of Responsibility. You will see beauty that transcends any that you have previously known as well as experience sorrows that threaten to break your heart. What’s at the other end of the journey? Heck if I know.

But I’m going to go find out!

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