Saturday, July 27, 2013

Choosing to Love

19 years ago when I met Paul, we chose to love each other. It was definitely not love at first sight. We were both in our mid-thirties, committed to settling down, hopeful about building a family; we each had a vision for a relationship and therefore, we chose to love each other.

Love is always a choice. Sometimes it comes easier than others, but it's always a choice. The last three years have been stressful ones around here. They have been "good" years, for sure, but some of the hard choices we've made have meant that things are more stressful than at other times. I come from two long lines of hard-working people, so when I am under stress, my natural instinct is to put my head down and work. If I do that for too long, I start to close my heart. The work becomes my focus and I forget to let in and out the love I have for the very people one whose behalf I'm working.

That realization is what started me on my quest to open my heart back in February. Since then, I have been allowing myself to remember how much I love the people around me. For the most part, my expressions of love have been met with appreciation. The "side effect" to being closed-hearted is that it tends to make the people around me closed-hearted too. So when I remember love is a choice and open my heart again, they don't always do so instantly. Sometimes, they have to learn to trust again. That part is not my purview. All I can do is offer, sincerely, what I have to offer. Part of the process of opening the heart is to notice and remove my demands that others accept or reciprocate that love.

There have been many sweet moments of love, lately, and one awkward one. A sweet moment came in reaching out to a younger relative and she reached back to say, "That is just what I needed to hear today." Another sweet moment was my open-heartedness toward a total stranger at the bank led him to say, "I am coming in here everyday. You make me feel so good about myself."

The awkward moment came in the ER during an unplanned cardio-version on Tuesday. Though all the ER personnel had said he wouldn't, my kind, amazing cardiologist showed up (off-call) to check on me in person. He got there at the exact moment they began administering my phenterol and I was a little --well -- drunk. I looked at him and said in a gushy voice, "Dr. Vaisman, you're my superhero." It was a a little awkward, but he took the complement with grace.

I have just ended yet another unplanned heart-related hospital stint -- only 4 days this time, in two different hospitals, with two different cardio procedures -- and I have added a lot more "loves" to my life-list. So many kind people cared for me in the past four days and so many people near and far have reached out to me with love and care. I am grateful that  my heart is open to receive it!

Hey, Dr. Vaisman and Dr. Sanchez, maybe that's why my heart keeps beating so fast!

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