October 14, 2011

Learning To Love

Standing in the middle of the room I wondered what he was up to. We had been dating but a few weeks the day he turned with a mysterious flair towards the stereo and pressed the play button. The vibrant notes of jazz piano filled the room as he took me in his arms and, with a boyish smile, began to sway me to the music of a song I had never heard.

After the initial surprised at being twirled around the floor by a man I knew simply does not dance, and the giggles ensued by the flirty silliness of the moment, I began to listen to the words that floated above our heads from the smooth, seductive voice of Harry Connick Jr, his all-time favorite.

I could learn to love you.
I could get used to this.
I could learn to love you.
And the shelter of your kiss.

He never sang the words to me. He didn’t say: this song is for you. He didn’t have to. We stopped giggling and simply danced, my head to his chest, listening to the unspoken meaning behind the song choice, behind the moment in which we were caught up, enjoying the genesis of a feeling that was budding and growing with each spin.

Our song.

Lovers are dreamers and I've been walking in my sleep
When I awake I'll never take a chance that I can't keep
A thousand first times never add up to last
And I've been told a heart of gold melts away too fast.

This was more than a good song to dance to; this was a confession. He had had several very short relationships and was not much of a risk-taker when it came to them. I was the first one he pursued, the first one he took home, the first one he danced with.

He had made the choice to take a chance.

The choice to risk going after the one that made his heart stop. The choice to make of this a lasting relationship. And ultimately the choice to fall in love and to make it last a lifetime.

I could learn to love you…

He decided to decide and he decided on me. He knew love is not meant to be the butterflies and fuzzy feelings alone but also the conscious determination of the will to grow in love and to make love grow.

I could get used to this…

He didn’t say he loved me for several months after that. But I knew the day the feeling was born. We’ve spent ten years choosing to nurture it every day. There have been seasons when we have let it nearly starve and there have been season when it has been as strong as a bamboo shoot. But the choice has always been ours to make.

We choose to love each other every day, even when it’s hard to like each other. We choose to stay together when it is difficult and when we would rather run. We choose to forgive, to let go, and to make “you” more important than “me”.

We learn to love over and over again.

Several years after the dancing episode I finally asked him if he had meant to choose that song, if he had done it on purpose for me to hear what he could not yet express. Of course, he had.


Aritha said...

This touches me. Thank you!

Deborah said...

Beautiful. Matt sounds like a very sweet guy. And I like the way you portray marriage. Many times K and I have been at the end of our rope, and after all the yelling and the screaming, we basically say "let's decide to make this work." And then we get times like the past few months where it's hardly work at all!

Debbie said...

OK,just so you know...hopeless romantic Debbie has a little lump in her throat reading this.

Christy said...

Wow Gaby! What a great picture of love, and your love in particular. Yes, it's always a choice!

Unknown said...

Just precious!

Kathleen T. Jaeger said...

I love this picture...the choice of love even in the midst of initial feelings & romance...beautiful...

Gaby said...

Thank you, all. There is little I like more than to give my sweet husband some screen time to thank him for being such a wonderful partner in life.