Sitting by the beach at Lake Erie only a few days before Mother's Day, I am pondering the concept of "choice" in love. In the English folk song, "Johnny Has Gone For A Soldier"—which was a favorite tune during the American Civil War—a young woman determines to sell her spinning wheel in order to buy her beloved a weapon of defense in a time of war.
I have a spinning wheel, two, in fact. The novel experience of spinning wool into yarn is usually fun, though I seldom make the time. In fact, it took me eight years to spin enough wool to knit my husband a sweater! Fortunately, since spinning is just a hobby for me, we have the opportunity to buy sweaters in a store.
It was not the same for the woman in the song. In her era, a spinning wheel was a dearly held necessity. Though it is hard to imagine now, a spinning wheel was once the technology that allowed one to make yarns/fabric/clothes and, for many, it was the critical piece of equipment for earning a living.
She chose to sell it in a breath-taking act of sacrifice.
Why? Because of her love for Johnny.
Real love is not mere words. Instead, love is a day-by-day choice, most clearly discerned through generously unmeasured acts that benefit the loved one.
Today I choose to love. How about you?
P.S. If you are in the Harrisburg, PA, region, I would love to meet you at the CHAP convention this weekend! Be sure to catch my mini-concert at noon on Friday, featuring some of the stories and songs from the Experience History Through Music series. Bring your sing-along voice, as it will be an audience participation concert!