CHOOSE YOUR LOVE, LOVE YOUR CHOICE.
I was riding to work on the back of mine and Bibi’s motor bike, zoning out, looking at the sky, the people passing by- my busy and chaotic surroundings- when the guy’s t-shirt on the motorbike in front of us, caught my eye. Choose your love, love your choice.
I thought about that sentence for the next 20 minutes until Bibi and I arrived at my university.
Because Bibi and I are coming up on 1 year of marriage in just 8 short days, my mind went immediately to him, my love.
I remember standing in our church service in October 2012, praying about this man beside me that I was getting to know. I hadn’t had a boyfriend in years! Lord, what am I doing with this guy? Do I want this relationship to evolve? Is this really the man I should marry? Because we had made it official- I was Bibi’s “girlfriend”- in Khmer culture that is really just synonymous with fiance, so in his mind it was a done deal- we were getting married. That night in church the Lord spoke SO clearly . . . “It is your choice, Kristen. You can choose not to take this relationship any further, or you can choose Bibi. But if you choose Bibi, you are choosing all of him, every day, for the rest of your life.”
I chose Bibi that night, and maybe I didn’t realize it fully at the time, but in that one choice there were other choices that I was simultaneously making as well like . . .
to be forever tied to Cambodia; a country and culture so far away and foreign to my own.
to be okay with the fact that Bibi is not as anal about cleanliness and tidiness as I am, so that means that I will be the one to ALWAYS make the bed in the morning, and pick up his clothes off the floor and put them in the dirty laundry basket.
for one of us to ALWAYS have to sacrifice being near friends and family because they literally live on opposite sides of the globe. (I found this to be probably the hardest choice, especially around special holidays and times when family gathers together.)
to exercise extra grace in conflict because often our differing paradigms or world views keep us from fully understanding the other person’s heart and feelings.
to always need to compromise when it comes to meals because some days I just don’t want to eat rice and stir fried-something, and other days Bibi rejects the “blandness” or non-spiciness of Western food.
to try to create traditions together as a new family instead of feeling sad and alienated when Bibi doesn’t really get what the Christmas season is all about.
to commit to continually pray for his safety and protection even when I am absolutely ANGRY that he sometimes refuses to put a helmet on!
to work extra hard at communicating and be an eternal student of language because my first language is not his and his first language is not mine.
to be kind even when I come home and there are THOUSANDS OF ANTS in my kitchen because Bibi didn’t wash or rinse the pots and pans he cooked with that morning.
to not be frustrated when I don’t understand Khmer humor or slang, and am the only one not laughing when in a group amongst our Khmer friends.
The list continues.
I have chosen my love, Bibi Leang, and for the last 357 days I have been learning how to love my choice. The same is true for Bibi because I too am a choice that has, at times, been hard to love, but I believe that is what this thing called marriage is all about. We are choosing to love each other and the choice we made to journey together every minute, every hour, every day, even when we act out, and are our most unloveable selves.
Imagine what it would be like if every single person went into marriage knowing that they are choosing their love and, “until death do you part”, will be learning how to love your choice.
As I was sitting here writing this, I began thinking not only about marriage, but about all the hundreds of choices we make on a daily basis . . . and it brings up so many questions like,
how many choices do we consciously make on a daily basis? unconsciously?
how many of those choices do we love? of those choices, how many have consequences that we love?
. . . work? school? the degree we study? the way we eat? the way we exercise or don’t? the way we spend our free time? what we choose to learn on a daily basis? what we spend our money on? the way we keep in touch with people? what we allow to occupy our thoughts? what we choose to say? how we choose to respond to people and situations?
Think about if we, first of all, made all of our choices conscious choices and secondly, made choices on the basis of whether or not we love the choice itself and the consequences there after . . .
sounds like maybe another blog for another time.