At some point in our lives, love will come knocking at our door. Cupid will ensure that love packages are delivered at their due time. If you are like me, you will have placed the order with extensive details of what love should look like and how the package should be wrapped. Yet, what happens when love comes in an imperfect package? Do we send it back?
During high school, one of my sons was displaying “falling in love” symptoms. As things evolved, I began to ask the normal questions: Who is she? What is she like? One day, my son looked at me and said, “Mom, she is interesting and quite different.” His words peaked my curiosity and I poked some more. Then the truth came out, “Mom, she suffers from Paranoid Schizophrenia.”
I took a deep breath and said a prayer in my mind. I will never forget the words that followed. “Son, everyone has the right to love and to be loved; if that is the one you love, then I will support you. Just educate yourself on the topic so you would gain the skills that are needed to have a successful relationship.”
One of my son’s gifts is empathy. I know he would have loved and cared for her in his own special way. Sadly, the package was taken away from him by the parents.
One package I will never forget is the one that came to my friend’s door. She was 46; he was 61. The package certainly had travelled for a long time. Yet, it came at that precise moment. Reason presented its greatest arguments of why not to accept that love. The chasm in age and experience that lied between them was too great! But, what do you do when your heart is telling you the package was exactly what you ordered; except for the 15 year difference glitch?
Conversations filled with mixed emotions went back and forth. “What will it look like in the next 10 years?” he said. “What if I die in the next 5 years?” she replied. Finally, a decision had to be made. This couple chose to live with no regrets. They would have never known the outcome unless they gave themselves the chance to love and be loved.
Joni Eareckson Tada, founder and CEO of Joni and Friends International Disability Center, became a quadriplegic at 17 after breaking her neck in a diving accident. Today she is married to Ken Tada. Even though they had thought things through, at one point in their marriage, the 24/7 care began to show in exhaustion. The feeling of entrapment made him feel guilty. Yet, their love and commitment has led them to 31 years of marriage.
Finally, there are packages that must be wrapped the best way possible and sent back with no return address. There are men and women who do not fully understand that love is not about fear, intimidation and control.
The heart is a powerful force. Both heart and reason are needed in order to make a decision—each person must go in with their eyes “wide-opened.” This applies to all types of relationships. In reality, we are all imperfect packages. Some of us just a bit more imperfect than others!
Blue Ribbon News special contributor Enid Reyes is a Certified Relationship Skills Facilitator, founder of Rockwall Grace Center for Family & Community Development and a local minister. Contact Enid at firstname.lastname@example.org.