Thursday June 13th: Spiritual Blind spots
June 13, 2024
Friday June 14th: Jesus raises the bar
June 14, 2024

Opposites attract – No Boundaries When It Comes To Love

He was a Baby Boomer born in 1946; I was 22 years younger, born in 1968. He was tall; I was short. He was of mixed race; I was Indian (although he was more Indian in his behaviour and taste in food, liking dhal, rice and bhagi, which I don’t like). He was a Roman Catholic; I was from a Hindu home. He was a thinker; I was a doer. He was an introvert; I was an extravert. He liked staying home; I liked going out. He grew up on a sugar cane estate; I grew up in the city.

These were a few of the identifiable differences between my now-deceased husband, Michael, and myself. Yet, we were compatible and our relationship as a couple lasted 27 years, until his passing in March. We balanced each other in personality and mindset. We challenged each other too by exposing ourselves to conflicting opinions and experiences, which helped take us outside of our comfort zones. Mike helped forge me into the woman I am today, and I would not have emerged were it not for him in my life.

So, based on my experience with Mike, I believe we should not set boundaries for the people we have or should want in our lives. By engaging with others who are different to us, we maximise the possibility of experiencing the fullest spectrum of love that is available, and truly grow and develop to being our best, during both good and not-so-good times. In our years together, Mike and I had situations which challenged our relationship. It was the challenges though that had the greatest impact on us. God used those challenges to deepen our love, to help us transform and to fulfil His purpose for our lives.

In the book 33 Days to Eucharistic Glory, on page 129, Day 20’s last line of the opening paragraph states, “Love rearranges our priorities. And our priorities reveal who we are and what we love.” The Virtue section also says, “With every act of love, with every sacrifice for love’s sake, our capacity for love grows.” These words resounded with me, as it epitomised how I felt upon becoming Mike’s only caregiver years ago, as his health started to deteriorate. I had to rearrange my life and make different work choices to be able to take care of my husband. His wellness became my priority. God also used this challenging experience to further cement my faith, as He organised opportunities for me to still be able to work and earn an income.

Our experience also reinforced His Word, 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (“Love is kind, love is patient…”) which highlight how love should manifest in relationships. It was difficult seeing my former strong and vigorous husband transform, needing my support and understanding of his changing self. This new reality caused me to grow in patience, empathy, compassion, and feel deeper love for my husband. Sometimes I would get tired, frustrated, or deeply concerned. God gave me strength at those times to continuously hope for Mike’s healing, persevere to seek medical guidance and provide good home care for him. These were things I didn’t even know I was capable of before it became necessary. Mike also transformed emotionally by openly expressing his love and gratitude daily, which he knew helped me in my journey.

So, our priorities shifted as our love evolved. We became less focused on self or external activities, and more on securing Mike’s well-being, and strengthening our relationship with each other and God. And yes, some sacrifices were made in the interest of love, but we did not lament about any.

As a couple, we primarily didn’t focus on our differences but valued what we had a common love for in our joint lives. Fundamentally, these contributed to our relationship standing the test of time and trials until his death. Some were:

· Our role as parents to Joshua

· Our love for travel, oldies songs and movies of the 50s, 60s and 70s

· Our commitment to upholding values like respect and integrity

· Our intention to live purposefully to make a difference in the world

· Our faith and trust in God

In the end, we embraced the differences, and celebrated the ties that bound us, in love and in life.