This morning, my wife Karin proved her love for me… by trying to get rid of me. Permit me to explain. It will take just a few minutes.
I grew up in what charitably could be called a troubled household. There were few things about the household that were normal.
I can never remember my parents getting along. When I was young, they seemed to fight all the time.
As I got older, they fought less, only because my father was around the house less and less frequently. Eventually, he left for good.
There was no big announcement. He just walked out, never to return and never to make any effort to see my brother or me.
His generosity extended to paying my mother $25 a week in alimony and child support. When he died, he left each of us nothing. He seemed to care about no one but himself and never much tried to pretend otherwise.
My mother did her best to take care of my brother and me, but after my father walked out, her attention turned almost exclusively to herself.
I could not wait to go to college, in large part because my conversations with her were always about her, and because I got tired of the unending stream of boyfriends who came into, and quickly went out of, her life.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez published one of his greatest works, Love in the Time of Cholera, in 1985. Today, in March 2020, any of us might write a novel on Love in the Time of Coronavirus.
Those whose love is only for themselves shine through brightly--like the glare of headlights on high beams.
For example, some people who have been exposed to coronavirus are unwilling to be tested. Their unwillingness to be tested obviously puts themselves at risk, but how about their spouses, their children, and everyone else with whom they come into contact?
Are they so narcissistic that they just don’t care that they may be exposing people, ones for whom they have professed their love, to what can be a deadly disease?
Which leads me to how Karin’s trying to get rid of me proved her love.
Karin told me that, with the first case of coronavirus having been reported in our county this morning, she might have to quarantine me—for my own protection—if anyone in the family showed symptoms of the disease.
Of course, by then, it might be too late, but then, maybe not. We have a guest apartment and that’s where I might have to stay. Well, that’s one way of getting rid of me!
My confining myself would have serious repercussions for the family. There are many things I do in the household I no longer would be able to do.
It’s definitely not convenient. But I’m quite a bit older than the rest of the family and I’m the one whose life is most at risk.
Most of the lessons I learned as a child were negative ones. One of those negative lessons was that selfishness breeds selfishness. I learned that the single best way to show your love for someone else is to put their needs first rather than your own.
Karin continually does that with me, and I do that with her. I am far from perfect at it. With my annoyingly long list of bad habits, I’m very grateful for her having put up with me.
But I know that, in the end, nothing matters more in love than putting the needs of your partner first.
That’s why she and I both do tasks we know the other one doesn’t like to do—to spare the other from having to do those tasks.
Coronavirus is making almost every aspect of our lives worse. But in so many ways, love in the time of coronavirus can be an opportunity to remind us of what true love is. We have to sacrifice not only for ourselves but for those others we love.
You have been exposed to coronavirus? Get tested, of course.
To some people, it just would never occur to them that they owe it not only to themselves, but to others. They are narcissists who probably never will know what love is. You do, though, right?
Love is as simple as finding a special person and, for some of us, a special family, whose needs are more important to us than are our own.