TITLE: An Off-Topic Musing about Love and Life AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford DATE: October 19, 2009 12:36 PM DESC: ----- BODY: If you come hear to read only about computer science, software development, or teaching, then this entry probably isn't for you. On Saturday, I attended the wedding of a family friend, the son of my closest friend from college. Some weddings inspire me, and this one did. I've been feeling a little jaded lately, and it was refreshing to see two wonderful young people, well-adjusted and good-hearted, starting a new chapter of life together. During the minister's remarks to the bride and groom, I found myself thinking about love, and about big moments and little moments. We often speak of one person loving another so much that he would lay down his life for her. That is a grand sort of love indeed. Many of our most romantic ideas about love come back to this kind of great personal sacrifice. It occurred to me that this is love in the big moment. But how many of us are ever in a position where we must or even can demonstrate love in this way? Nearly all of our chances to demonstrate love come in the nondescript moments that bathe us every day. These are not the big moments we dream of. We dream about big challenges, but the biggest challenge is to make small choices that demonstrate our love all the time. It is so easy for me to be selfish in the little desires that I act to satisfy daily. The real sacrifice is to surrender ourselves in those moments, to act in a way that puts another person, the one we love, at the front, to place her needs and wants ahead of our own. When relationships falter, it is rarely because one person missed an opportunity to lay his life down -- literally. Much more often, it a result of small choices we make, of small sacrifices we could have made but didn't. I think that is one of the great sources of confusion for people whose at the end of relationships. They may well still be willing to lay down their loves for the loved one; what more could the other person want? It's hard to recognize all those little opportunities to sacrifice as they come by. How important they are. The minister closed his remarks Saturday with a wish for the new couple that, at the end of long, happy lives together, they will be able to say, "I would choose you again." I make this wish for them, too. But I think one of the best ways to prepare for that distant moment is to wake up each day, say "I choose you" in the present tense, and then strive to live the little moments of that day well. -----