Love Wins

February is love month (see previous blog) and February also holds the anniversary date of my father’s death. I am reminded how much I loved him.

One of my fondest memories of dad and me is me sitting on his lap in his old overstuffed, beige rocker watching westerns. We called them cowboys and indians. It is one of my earliest memories, too.

I remember the little - compared to the sizes now - black and white television with rabbit ears. You adjusted the volume and changed the channel by - gasp - getting up out of your chair and walking over to the TV set.

I now know, there was a simplicity to these shows. And to these days. I could always tell the good guys, they were wearing the white cowboy hats. And, yes, the bad guys were either wearing black cowboy hats or they were the Indians.

There was usually a lot of action and there always was a simple morality lesson in the best of those Westerns. Good - the white hats - always triumphed over evil - the black hats - often without mercy. Justice always prevailed.

And life as a cowboy was not an easy one. Surviving in the West required strength and endurance. These stories were not just about surviving but conquering the wild, wild west. In my young mind, cowboys were the epitome of mettle and courage.

And, like little girls tend, my dad was my hero. He could ice skate and shoot a hockey puck as fast as any cowboy could draw his gun and shoot a bullet. His heart could hold more love than I could imagine back then. He taught me by example that life is about risk taking, adventure making, fun-loving and faith building. And he was the provider and protector of our family.

I learned later in life my dad was made of perseverance, courage and bravery beyond measure. He pushed through pain and suffering I can’t imagine - all to have one more day with us. “Let me see her reach one more mile marker,” he would pray. The only name I can give to such love and courage is valor.

The truly brave in life are those who are willing to face the unknown down and make it the known. Those who are willing to get back up and try again. Those who are willing to face not just the fears you can see, but the ones you can’t - the ones you let no one see.

The fears that might have been buried so deep no light gets in. The only way those fears get cracked open is through pure love and valor.

That is the lesson in the westerns my dad and I watched through the night. And that is the lesson my dad taught me not only in the way he lived his life but in the way he died.

So whether you’re lost in the desert, the wilderness or your relationship, let love in - it can do great things.

Are you brave? What does courage look like for you?

For me, it’s love.

Happy Valentine’s Day