When I think of risk taking, I think of one of my favorite rides at Disney World. It’s the Mexican boat ride in Epcot. If you have been on this ride, you might be scratching your head and wondering how one of the calmest rides at Disney makes me thing of risk taking. Let me explain. When I hear the phrase “risk taking”, the first image that pops into my head is the cliff divers that are portrayed throughout that ride. I personally would never dive off a cliff, but I can think of something comparable. Choosing to love is like diving off of a cliff!
I totally believe that love is a choice. Some people say that they fell in love at first sight. I don’t think we “fall” in love. It’s not an accident. It’s always a choice. Rather than falling in love, we take a giant leap of faith and dive into it. I think it’s possible to have strong feelings and emotions for someone that you haven’t yet chosen to love. The tricky part is sometimes telling the difference between love and emotions.
I can tell you the exact moment that I chose to love my husband. We had been good friends for four years. In fact, I considered him one of my best friends. Also, I did have “feelings” for him. I loved his heart for God and people. I respected his work ethic. He was hilarious! And, he wasn’t afraid to be brutally honest. Also, I thought he was really cute! When I thought about the kind of guy that I wanted to spend my life with, it was him. But I hadn’t yet chosen to love him.
We fell….I mean chose to dive in and love each other on a mission trip to Mexico. I’ve told his side of the story plenty of times, but this is mine. We were in Mexico and we were at the home of a local pastor. He had a big courtyard where the church would meet. There were always people there visiting. I remember looking at Joshua, sitting on a plastic chair in that courtyard. He was surrounded by people. He was laughing and talking to them, and his love for them was sincere and sweet. In that moment I said to myself, “I want to be a part of what ever he is a part of, for the rest of my life.” I didn’t know if he loved me. I didn’t know if we would get married. I had no idea what the future held, but I knew that in some capacity, I was committed to Joshua.
When you have a baby and they place it in your arms, you look at it and you feel a strong emotion. That emotion is not love. That emotion must be like what a cliff diver feels when he walks to the edge, looks down and contemplates diving in. Diving in is the commitment, just like choosing to love is the commitment. Love is feeding that baby around the clock, changing diapers, and pacing the house bouncing that screaming baby when it has colic at 2:00 in the morning.
I’ve never literally dived off a cliff, and I am not planning to. I imagine that the result is a pretty hefty, yet temporary, adrenaline rush. When you choose to dive into love, something eternal happens. In the beautiful story, Les Miserables, Victor Hugo wrote, “To love another person is to see the face of God.” How can we see the face of God and not touch eternity?
I believe that loving is something that we have to keep on choosing. Sometimes we have to choose to lay down our selfishness, and love. We have to choose to overlook things that annoy us, and love. We have to choose to forgive. We have to choose to do the hard things. So, yes, I think that choosing to love is just like diving off of one of those giant cliffs. It’s a big risk, but it’s worth it.