We watched all of the first season of the “Story of Us” this weekend. It is the life stories of a family, and deals with some real issues, many of which I can understand and relate to. Weight issues, feelings of inadequacy, fear of abandonment, relationship dynamics, family dysfunction; it is a fictional world with very non-fictional situations. Many of the more poignant moments come at crossroads in the lives of the characters, when they have to make a choice about what they want to do, where they want to go, who they want to be, and how they want to relate to the people in their lives. My favorite point of the show is that it illustrates love in action: not just a bunch of people saying it to each other, but showing it through their actions, their choices, their struggles, even when it’s hard, or painful. Because, in the end, love is not just a feeling, it’s a choice and an action. A choice to walk a path, build a life, a family, a home, a future with other people. To be there, through it all. It’s not reciting “for better or worse” at a ceremony in front of people on a perfectly planned day; it’s not just having fun and laughing; it’s not cocktails and expensive dinners; and it’s not expensive gifts and great sex; those things can be shared with someone you love, for sure, but real love, strong love, powerful love, is there when things are painful and confusing and scary and hard. It’s there when you fall and need a hand picking yourself back up, or break and need help putting yourself back together. It’s there when you screw up, not to shame you, but to forgive you, recognizing your faults and wanting to be with you anyway. Its caring about others wants and needs as much as your own. Its having a permanent part of your brain wondering “Where are they? What are they doing? How are they feeling?” even when you can’t be there. It’s worrying more about working through problems than pointing fingers, and it’s believing that, above all else, they will be there for you, and knowing, with all your heart, you will be there for them.
That is love.
And that is the story of us.
At least, I’d like to believe it is.