I’m not sure I can always tell love from passion. One father said of his teenaged son, “I don’t know if he’s in love or in heat!” What teenager would know? Besides, feelings of attraction can change more quickly than a pouty expression.
But love, in its truest form, is greater than feelings. It is as much a decision as it is a feeling.
Love is what Mr. and Mrs. Strauss shared. Mrs. Isadore Strauss was one of the few first class women passengers to go down with the Titanic in 1912, and she drowned because she could not bear to leave her husband.
They remained calm throughout the excitement of the sinking vessel. They both aided frightened women and children to find places aboard lifeboats. Finally, Mr. Strauss, who had repeatedly urged his wife to claim a spot safely aboard a lifeboat, forced her to enter one.
She was seated but a moment, however, when she sprang up and climbed back on deck before he could stop her. There, she caught his arm, snuggling it familiarly against her side, and exclaimed, “We have been long together for a great many years. We are old now. Where you go, I will go.”
Where you go, I will go. It is a decision to be together, come what may. I suspect she said something like that to him many times before. Maybe the words she used were different, but the meaning was the same. I want to be with you. Let’s do this together.
Where you go, I will go. It’s a decision to love. It is deciding to be there, wherever “there” may be. It is a decision to sacrifice, if sacrifice is needed. And it is choosing to re-decide it all over again tomorrow and the next day and the next.
As the ship sank beneath icy water on that cold and dark, April night, the Strausses merely re-made a decision they had made many times before throughout their life together. They decided on each other.
Where you go, I will go. At the heart of true love is often a decision, made again and again, to face the next day together … hand in hand.