While attending a REC (Residents Encounter Christ) weekend, I heard a great definition for the word love. According to Joe, a very gifted speaker at this event, love is about making a commitment. It is not at all about liking someone, liking someone is about personalities.
This gave me a lot to think about. Certainly I have learned about the word commitment. The paperwork that allows the state to keep me in this undisclosed secure location is called "JUDGEMENT AND COMMITTAL." I am committed by the state to spend between five and fifteen years behind razor wire fences. No exceptions, no alternatives, no ifs, ands, or buts. Neither party can wake up one morning and say "Okay, enough of this commitment thing, let us go our separate ways. Not going to happen.
Even if I am lucky enough to make parole this November, I will still have up to ten years of rules and regulations that will govern my life until I have fulfilled my commitment to the State of New York.
So loving someone means being committed to them. It means you will be there for this person, no matter what. Even when you are pissed off, hung over, tired, hungry, mad at the person, or just want to care only about yourself. Nope, when you love someone you are there for them any time, any place, any anything„ That is what I have been doing for the last twelve plus years.
What have I been doing for the last twelve years? I have been committed. No, I am certainly not in love with prison. But for the purpose of understanding what it means to be committed, I got it? And while I had a lot to do with what put me in here, it was certainly not in my life plans to become committed to prison.
Being committed to prison has certainly hammered into the gray matter exactly what it means to be committed. Now I have been told that to love someone, you are going to have to be committed to them. Sometimes it takes me a little longer to get the message.
While I have had some good days and some good things happen to me while in prison, it is not an experience I wish on any other human being. In prison you often get to see how low human beings can go, and the level of hurt, physical and emotional, one can cause to another. (Some specific examples may be written about in other places in this blog, more examples will just have to wait till I am out of the system.)
Amidst all the bad times there have been some incredible bright spots„ People and events that I would never have met and experienced had I not had this "commitment.” True, there are other events and people that I have not shared an experience with because I have been in prison. That is life. You can only be in one place at one time.
If you are in love with someone, you are going to be there for that person no matter what, no matter where, no matter when. Not because at this time you would like to be there. Not because you have nothing better to d. You are there because you love that person.
The great revelation to me is that once you understand (and accept.) what a commitment is, and you say, "I love you" to a fellow human being your life becomes easier. No longer will you feel the challenges of what to do. No, first and foremost you answer the needs of your loved one.
Okay, you happen to love your spouse, and one result of the physical ramifications of that love produces a couple of charming offspring whom you also love dearly. Now what happens if this wonderful trio in your life all need you to be at a different place at 8:00 PM on Wednesday? That is logistics, and with love it can be worked out to meet the needs of all. The fact that the NCAA Final Four is playing in your town, and your alma mater is one of the teams that is not one of the FOUR places you need to be that night. You still only need to be THREE places. Unless of course one of your loved ones happens to be on the team in the Final Four. Now that would be very cool.