“Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction.” — Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Our idea of love has been greatly marred by what society tells us what it should be. That we have to get married, have two and a half kids, a house in the suburbs with white picket fences and all. But love is so much more. Love requires the one thing that most people find hard to understand or willing to give up, that love requires sacrifice. Love is not just about being together; it’s about the sacrifices we make to be with the ones we love.
Spouse, children, friend, it’s all the same. This doesn’t mean that if you don’t work hard for that relationship it isn’t meaningful. All relationships are different. Some require more work then others, but they all stem from our emotional baggage we pick up along this journey we call life. When I say sacrifice, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a huge gesture like moving across the country for your loved one or quitting a hobby that you really like. I mean the little things, that don’t seem to matter, but really do. Tonight I’m reminded of that by watching the wedding of my friend since I was 10 take place, with some of our closest friends around us.
Sacrifice is seeing your friend you have known since you were ten getting married to a person from a completely different culture, who has a completely different story, come together in compromise. Where he comes from a background so different to hers, yet is willing to clumsily adapt to her customs, and her to his. Sacrifice is seeing his eyes light up the moment she walks in in her gorgeous sari, and her eyes welling up seeing his face as she approaches him, knowing that he has made this choice to take all of her, and her all of him, despite the hardships that you don’t already know are yet to come. That is the sacrifice you make for love.
Sacrifice is watching a boy turn into a man as he holds his tiny daughter steadily and in her arms. Where he may be the most tired person after a long day, yet will do anything to ease the worries of his beautiful wife, stating defensively that she works twice as hard to making sure that all is well with the tiny one. Sacrifice is the endless long nights they have to bear ensuring that no harm comes to the little one, with no guarantee that she will ever be able to reciprocate, but holding on to faith that she will. Sacrifice is taking a shot in the dark with the a child, never knowing what kind of person she will turn out to be, but always hoping that she will always be kind. That is the sacrifice you make for love.
Sacrifice is sitting by your friend listening to their story about how they keep making the same mistakes over and over again, but still sitting there beside them, trying in their best efforts to help them come up with solutions to fix an unfixable problem. Sacrifice is rushing around town handling all the menial jobs that no one else is willing to do, and yet still saying “I feel like I could have done more.” Sacrifice is always putting the interest of your friends first, saying things that are hard to hear, and even to their own detriment, in times of joy or adversity. Sacrifice is standing up for your friend and to your friend, even when no one around them is willing to. That is the sacrifice you make for love.
We go through life making bonds with people, some stronger than others. Some family that you think will fail you can completely take you by surprise, and some friends can show you compassion you would never expect. When it comes to sacrifice we need to stop focusing on what we’re losing, and focus on what we’re gaining. If you think you are capable of immense love, then you surely are capable of immense sacrifice. Sacrifice, on contrary to popular believe, is a good thing.