“Do you know,” said Anne confidentially, “I’ve made up my mind to enjoy this drive. It’s been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly that you will. Of course, you must make it up firmly.”
From Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery. Spoken by Anne as Marilla is driving her to return her to the orphanage.
I’ve been doing my best to be enthusiastic this week, and I think it’s starting to work.
In fact, when we were house-hunting Saturday (we saw ten houses in one day. I can’t believe the kids lasted that long!), I went into one and just emoted all over the place. My husband asked what I thought of the house.
“I love it!” I said. I went on to detail, at my husband’s request, all of the things I loved about it: the fact that they kept two of the original 1900 windows (the year 1900, not that many windows) and the original wooden door, the beautiful cherry wood floors, the fact that the ceiling fans and chandelier were the same ones I’d been thinking of getting for our home in Utah, the cute little fenced yard, the quirky look of what I now know is called a “gambrel” style.
I really did love that house.
But in the evening, when the kids had crashed and the hotel room was quiet, I started to worry. I wasn’t worried that I’d assessed the situation incorrectly; I worried that I’d somehow messed something up—jinxed myself—by expressing how much I loved the place. I worried not that we wouldn’t get this house I loved, but that we would and I would regret it because I’d loved it too quickly and been blinded to faults in the house because of my love.
We’ve since looked at more houses and, upon further reflection, decided that another home is a better fit for our family. I like the second home a lot. I want that second home. It doesn’t inspire the strong, “I love it!” reaction, but I’m actually okay with that. I think it’s totally reasonable to find that the thing that inspires the strongest emotion isn’t necessarily the best for me.
That’s how I chose my husband, actually.
It wasn’t love at first sight. In fact, we didn’t really like each other when we first met. But our affection for one another grew over time. The flame of our love was fanned by familiarity, rather than firing up quickly only to burn out when reality set in. That doesn’t mean I didn’t like the thrill of crushes I had on myriad other lesser men/boys. It just means that I crave something stable and constant. I like kale smoothies. I keep careful records about the books I read. I’m not a thrill-seeker. And that tendency has served me well.
What concerns me isn’t that I had the “I love it!” reaction at all; it’s that I quickly became worried that simply by expressing that intensity of emotion, I was asking for some kind of retribution from the universe. I don’t believe that with my logical mind. It’s just an unbidden fear that arises.
Oddly enough, the house I loved (and still love) has over the kitchen sink that quote that goes, “Dance like no one is watching, Love like you’ll never be hurt, Sing like there’s nobody listening.”
Maybe that’s part of why I loved the house so much. I can probably put that quote up above the sink in the place that suits us better, though.