Don't Hope... Decide!


While waiting to pick up a friend at the airport in Portland, Oregon, I had one of those life-changing experiences that you hear other people talk about — the kind that sneaks up on you unexpectedly. This one occurred a mere two feet away from me.
Straining to locate my friend among the passengers deplaning through the jet way, I noticed a man coming toward me carrying two light bags. He stopped right next to me to greet his family.
First he motioned to his youngest son (maybe six years old) as he laid down his bags. They gave each other a long, loving hug. As they separated enough to look in each other’s face, I heard the father say, “It’s so good to see you, son. I missed you so much!” His son smiled somewhat shyly, averted his eyes and replied softly, “Me, too, Dad!”
Then the man stood up, gazed in the eyes of his oldest son (maybe nine or ten) and while cupping his son’s face in his hands said, “You’re already quite the young man. I love you very much, Zach!” They too hugged a most loving, tender hug.

While this was happening, a baby girl (perhaps one or one-and-a-half) was squirming excitedly in her mother’s arms, never once taking her little eyes off the wonderful sight of her returning father. The man said, “Hi, baby girl!” as he gently took the child from her mother. He quickly kissed her face all over and then held her close to his chest while rocking her from side to side. The little girl instantly relaxed and simply laid her head on his shoulder, motionless in pure contentment.
After several moments, he handed his daughter to his oldest son and declared, “I’ve saved the best for last!” and proceeded to give his wife the longest, most passionate kiss I ever remember seeing. He gazed into her eyes for several seconds and then silently mouthed. “I love you so much!” They stared at each others eyes, beaming big smiles at one another, while holding both hands.
For an instant they reminded me of newlyweds, but I knew by the age of their kids that they couldn’t possibly be. I puzzled about it for a moment then realized how totally engrossed I was in the wonderful display of unconditional love not more than an arm’s length away from me. I suddenly felt uncomfortable, as if I was invading something sacred, but was amazed to hear my own voice nervously ask, “Wow! How long have you two been married?
“Been together fourteen years total, married twelve of those.” he replied, without breaking his gaze from his lovely wife’s face. “Well then, how long have you been away?” I asked. The man finally turned and looked at me, still beaming his joyous smile. “Two whole days!”
Two days? I was stunned. By the intensity of the greeting, I had assumed he’d been gone for at least several weeks – if not months. I know my expression betrayed me.
I said almost offhandedly, hoping to end my intrusion with some semblance of grace (and to get back to searching for my friend), “I hope my marriage is still that passionate after twelve years!”
The man suddenly stopped smiling.
He looked me straight in the eye, and with forcefulness that burned right into my soul, he told me something that left me a different person. He told me, “Don’t hope, friend… decide!” Then he flashed me his wonderful smile again, shook my hand and said, “God bless!”
- By Michael D. Hargrove


It's a Tuesday night, I'm sipping on a tasty stout, watching what I believe will be a cheezy B flick horror movie, feeling more than a bit melancholy. I like this short story (above) and feel that it's true (that's why I chose to share it with you), but if you really know me you may understand when I say that the concept presented in this simple story is something that I am still working on; something that I still struggle with, especially with my close relationships.

All of my life I have been a free spirit, a ronin in pretty much everything, including my personal life. As I continue to get older this aspect of my personality continues to change. I don't really have many regrets in my life, it's been really quite an extraordinary ride so far,  however I do feel myself changing as time marches on. I am beginning to look at things a little differently, however seasons change not overnight but over time.

Some days I remember more than others. Like you, some days I hurt more than others. I am grateful for those people in my life present, past and future. Thank you to everyone who has walked in front of, behind or beside me during some part of my journey. I am especially thankful for those who carried me when I could not walk on my own. I know I'm not always the easiest person to be a friend (or more) with, but I continue to do my best as much as I can in the moments that I have.

A good friend of mine has told me on numerous occasions that "commitment is easier, because once you commit you know what to do, the rest are just details."   Who knows, he may be right. If you liked this story I shared, then you'll probably agree his words may have hit the nail on the head. (Please don't tell him though, his head is already big enough, he really doesn't need any more encouragement in that department!). 

Decide to be grateful for those people in your life that make it what it is. Seek out people in your life that inspire you, that make you laugh, that make you a better person, ones you enjoy spending some  of your journey with and when you find those people, don't forget to let them know every day what they mean to you!

Anyway I'm going to get back to my B-flick and I'm sure you have things to do too, like call that special someone and let them know how much you care... I'm sure they'd love to hear from you. 

Until next time.

Take care,


  1. Nice story some views of a home conflict.


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