I know for me, personally, as a man, whenever my devotion to a thing is challenged, anytime my dedication or loyalty is called into question, particularly in the realm of love, one of the first things I eagerly and proudly declare in my own defense is how I would willingly and gladly die for the item in question.
If I am talking to my wife and if there is a question or doubt about my commitment to the relationship and marriage, I quickly and fiercely respond with “I’d die for you.”
If there is ever a question as to the well being of my children, in prompted my first response is “I’ll die for mine.”
Family, honor, respect, any cause we deem worthy and even some that we know are not, the cost of our life seems to be our idea of the greatest price that we can pay and are willing to pay, to communicate our perceived value of these things.
But it’s not, and we know it’s not, at least I do.
Now if I tell my wife I’d die for her I mean it. Sacrificing my life to defend the life of my children? There is no question, I’d do it in a heart beat. But when I say it as if it is the greatest price that I could pay for the ones that I love, I’m not being honest.
Death is not the greatest sacrifice you make for love, life is the greatest sacrifice you make for love.
To die for something or for someone is admirable and honorable but it is also easy. Which is not to say dying is easy, as I have never died so I can’t make that particular claim. But the price of death is a singular one, once its done its done and your obligations to this thing which you were so devoted have ended. Your job is done, your statement has been made and leave the world a hero and a martyr.
To die for is admirable but to live for is the greatest and most sincere expression of love one can undertake.
To sacrifice for, daily, week after week, month after month, year after year, to gladly apply your energy and effort to that cause that seemed so worthy, to that person you claimed to love so much. To take a relationship and as you would the most delicate flower, cultivate, groom, nourish and encourage it over a life time all just to see it grow and thrive. Twenty, thirty, forty years in service to this thing you love. This is the most grandiose expression of love one can make, the highest price one can truly pay.
I can only die for love once, but I can live for love every single day that I am alive.
At heart, I am a poet and I admit shamelessly a hopeless romantic and there are some traditions that I simply cannot part with, so in the future there will be times where I may still tell my wife “I’ll die for you,” but what I really mean is “On my last day, I’ll die for you, and everyday between this day and that, I’ll live for you.”
Which very well may be what everyone else in the world meant when they said it and I’m just now getting up to speed.
“Cry for me, cry for me.
You said you die for me,
Give to me, give to me,
Why won’t you live for me?”
Lauryn Hill, Ex-Factor – The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill