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Love is a Decision in This Crisis

by Dr. Kathleen Hall

I wrote this original article in February 2014 and believe it is worth publishing again today. Originally I wrote this note for Valentine’s Day 2014. Today I have edited my original message, but the message is still the same.

We are living in dystopian times. We are called during these turbulent times of riots, a global pandemic, job loss, and immense suffering on many levels to reexamine our definition and experience of love.

Let’s talk about the modern images of love depicted in our lives these days.  We are bombarded with concepts of love on television shows, YouTube videos, and online content providers, to name a few.  Love is highly sexualized and displayed as a powerful emotion.

Dictionaries offer definitions of love as sexual intercourse, pleasure, or an object of affection or devotion.  Sadly enough, most of us in our culture believe this is what love is.  

I believe love is not just a transient emotion that floats like a butterfly when our hearts are warmed, but love is a decision.

Love is the commitment of reverent respect, kindness, devotion, and companionship to your self and others.

Whether love is in a marriage, a family, friendship, relationships or communities, love survives the good, the bad and the ugly, because love is the decision you have made. 

I remember spending lots of time with my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and family members on both sides.  They didn’t kiss or hold hands all the time, there were many disagreements and family struggles, but there was a love and reverence as they lived a long, rich life side by side.  When the times got tough through death, loss, illness, job loss, betrayal, or difficulties, you could palpably experience love as a decision.  

I have lived this belief throughout my life. My husband and my first date was on Valentine’s Day 47 years ago.  We have been through incredibly dark times, barren of positive emotions and pleasure, where our marriage almost fractured. Still, we remembered, “love is a decision.”  We got help through our darkness each time. We have consistently emerged renewed and discovered a deeper, more profound Divine love in each other.

We are one human family. We are called, especially at this time in history, to experience each other as brothers and sisters in our human family. We are all Divine creations from one Source, one Creator.

We have many injustices we must face at this time, but we must make a decision to do this as a family would work through this. Let us not experience each person as “other.” We are all inextricably linked in this Divine creation.

Please take some time after family dinner or with a friend and discuss what love means to you.  I challenge you to discover that “love is a decision.”  Once you decide to love someone, something, or a different community, don’t allow the winds of emotion and life circumstances to change your course.

Hold the light of hope and love for those around you. Become aware of each time you begin to descend into anger, fear or revenge, to breathe deeply, clear your mind, and choose love. It can be tough to do in the beginning, but after you flex that holy muscle for a while, it will come naturally.

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