Her phone rang, abruptly interrupting the silence of the night.
She yawned and wondered who could be calling her this early on her birthday. Before she could reach her phone, the ringing stopped. She turned on the bedside lamp and it shine brightly, revealing the items on the cabinet it stood on – her phone, her wrist watch and her clock.
The time was 4:12am.
The phone rang again.
“Hello, Mama!” a familiar male voice greeted from the other end. It was her son, Nana. Who else will call me this early to wish me a happy birthday.
“Nana, you woke me up! You should be asleep by now shouldn’t you?”
“Yes, mum. But I went partying with a few friends. Before you say anything, we didn’t have any alcohol.
Errrmmmmmmmmmm well not that much.
We just returned to the apartment and I thought I should be the first to wish you a happy birthday.
It’s almost midnight here!”
“Nana! Nana!” she laughed softly.
“Happy Birthday to you!” he began to sing and he sang and sang.
“So what are your plans for the day? Party? Day out? Come on, it’s your 50th birthday!”
“…And also the 25th anniversary of my marriage to your father.”
He hesitated a bit. “Oh, that. Is he home?”
She smiled. She had been through so much the past 25 years and it did not feel as though it had lasted that long.
Her marriage was glory from the beginning but little did she know she was walking into an everlasting Calvary where she’d lose a child and at 50, and still married, her husband will be another woman’s man.
“You know what, Nana, let’s forget about that for now.
I just thank God for everything, for you, for everything.”
“Mum, you know my sentiments.. I still don’t know why you are with him.
The tragedies are enough, are too heartbreaking for you to be still staying there…”
“I’m pressed but not crushed, my son. The Lord is still king. And I still love him and honour him as a husband.”
“Love? You call this love, mama. Love or it’s just something like it because I don’t understand.”
We all don’t really understand, do we? This whole thing called love is just so big and broad, Just when we think we know it all, we get a big surprise that tests if what we really feel is love or something like that.
I’ve learned there are different kinds of love a human being can express towards the different kinds of people in their lives depending on who they are to them. However, there is one truth and there is one solid fact, that love is the same in all cases, although expressed differently.
The only difference between the love you carry for your husband and for your child or for your best friend is the same.
Just that, it’s duties will be different with each person. What makes it the same is the key word that defines it all – sacrifice.
The feeling or the thought or the decision to love demands you actually give up a lot for that object of love.
It’s power just gives us enough reason to give it all and we may not, never be able to explain ourselves but love demands sacrifice. I keep saying to myself that, the best example of love was expressed by the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary.
I mean, if you need a benchmark to assess love, look no further than John 3:16 – For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son (to suffer all he suffered) that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life. This is probably the best definition of love and it is the foundation of love entirely.
To love is to give away a bit of yourself – a bit? No all of you – to someone else just to see yourself and that person happy. It is an action of giving, an action of sacrificing.
Sacrificing because it is going to cost you something to give yourself, your being to someone because it will make you happy and the person too. That is why I still don’t understand why most of us expect love to be a smooth and sweet affair from the beginning till end, be it marriage or family or friendship.
I simply don’t know how you picture this whole thing but your sacrificing yourself could be at costs of pain and hurts.
I don’t mean you’d get a broken heart but the people you love have that power to hurt you that much – because you have given them you in the process of loving them.
If you don’t know, the moment you love, you’re vulnerable, open to the person. Every guard you have raised to protect your being is simply down.
And during these times where we have to bear the costs, our love is tested. Our feelings, whether it is really love or something like it, is examined thoroughly. And it is not as easy as it seems.
A friend you love dearly ditched you – I mean real ditching, the kind that leaves you speechless for days.. A cheating husband. A cheating wife.
An abusive husband.
An abusive dad or mother.
A wayward child. People you love just walking all over your sacrifice for them like it never happened.
And this is where the giving up comes.
Yes, why are you still here? I’ve cheated on you, I’ve abused you.
You still want to stay with me? You’re my mum, I’ve been doing things that you didn’t imagine.
You still call me on the phone.
You never took care of me, daddy.
But does that mean you should not wish him a happy Father’s Day?
You see, it is not as easy as I’ve written but love, or something like it, is not easy and does not promise to be easy.
Moments in its lifespan will conspire to make it wane or die down but if you really did love, you’d realize remnants of that flame always rekindle after the pain.
It is not as easy as it looks but our benchmark actually did not and never gave up on us.
Yes, we were not worthy but He did not give up. I mean he kept giving love.
As surreal as it sounds, we can keep going back and asking for forgiveness and He will smile and say “you’re forgiven!” I bet it’s not that easy on His side and on earth it’s even more complicated.
Love or anything like it, whether you felt it or decided it is a whole journey of sacrifice. It is relative to every individual. You may not understand how I love and I may not understand how you love too. But one thing is for sure.
It is a costly sacrifice we must make. It comes with a lot of drama and pinches and punches of pain here and there, yet, it must not wane.
Maybe that’s why it’s called love. Or something like that.