Thursday, April 2, 2009

Stick to it

"If you deny yourself commitment, what can you do with your life?"
~Harvey Fierstein

Have I grown sentimental in my old (alright, not quite ancient) age? Or have the seemingly small things become more important? Think back to when you were a child. There weren't many things that made you cry from an abstract point of view. Ideas weren't emotionally taxing. But, as you grow older, some things grow more important, if not the idea of them. Commitment is one of them.

I was watching the final episode to the television series ER. That show has been known to occasionally bring tears. I was not prepared for tonight's finale. There was an elderly man who came in with a bedridden wife. She was going to die and he didn't want her to. The doctor explained that keeping her alive on more drugs and ivs would prolong her pain. I don't think I'll ever forget what the old man said. He looked back at the doctor, and said with a cracking voice, "I'm not ready for her to die." I have to say tears were streaming after that. When other people start crying, I start welling up too. So, when the old man started crying later on, or talking about how he hasn't looked at another woman since meeting his wife in sixth grade, I was gone. The last part for him was showing him lying next to his deceased wife in her hospital bed, just stroking her hair.
His dedication to her was so evident. He loved her and wasn't going to let her go through death alone. His brokeness was so touching.
Why is this important? It made me think about how cool it is to see that type of commitment. Being with someone for that long and being faithful for that long is a milestone. It made me think of a couple in my old church. She always called her husband "my sweetheart", even when they were well into their eighties. I would always smile when hearing them talk about each other.

Commitment is something taken very lightly. Most couples, friends, and families break apart after short amounts of time. When you were younger, you didn't worry about saying things that could offend or cause someone to not want to be around you anymore. Commitment was such a simple concept.

As a child, I didn't worry about my family leaving each other or my parents cheating on each other. I still don't worry about that because I know their commitment is just as strong as that old couple. Their faith is a huge part of their marraige and has helped them stay committed. My parents have joked that after seventy-five years of marraige, they will renegotiate. It's pretty definite that after that amount of time they won't want to look for someone else. I know that they've had hard times like everyone else. But they chose to stick with their commitment.

I know that its easy to make a commitment and not stick with it. It's hard. You might not feel like it. But, feelings are so fickle that they can't be trusted. You have to choose to stick with everyone. Commitment is worth all the hard times. This is proven by that old man in the ER episode. She wasn't alone, even at the end, because they chose to stick with each other. It will always be worth it.

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