It’s that time of year again — the time when florists and grocery stores charge twice the usual price for roses and “good” boyfirends and husbands go to Jared’s Jewelry according to television commericals. But the older I get the more I realize that love is a CAT — that’s right, a CAT. It is a Commitment, an Action and a Tactic for living and loving well!
Love is first of all a COMMITMENT. Our world would tell us that love is a feeling, but life has taught most of us by now that feelings are REAL but not RELIABLE. If we live by feelings alone, we will make many mistakes. But when you commit to something or SOMEONE (like an aging parent!), you choose to love them and serve them no matter how you feel. Loving and serving your parent is necessary even when you don't feel like helping them.
Secondly, love is also an ACTION. Love is a verb — something you choose to do, to act upon, to carry out. Love is what you do, not how you feel. Sometimes the two line up but sometimes they don’t! Choose to love anyway. WIth an elderly parent, this may be very practical things like errand shopping or driving them to the doctor.
And lastly, love is a TACTIC — a preconceived choice to live by. It is not manipulative, but it is strategy, a preplanned way to act and live. It’s choosing to show love even when things do not go our way. It‘s choosing to show love even to people that are rude, critical or hard to get along with. It is knowing how you will respond before things happen because it is a proactive choice and not a reactionary response.
So this Valentine’s Day, use the acronym CAT to guide your choices about expressing your love — to those you find easy to love but especially to those who may be harder to love.