The Only Thing That Matters

Life hands us its lessons when we least expect them. Micheal and I had hit a rough patch, and I was lying face down on our bed, miserable because of the anger that separated us. Then I remembered an affirmation I’d typed in the notes app on my phone right before we’d decided to move to Mexico.  

I’d been having serious doubts about the whole idea, and to keep my courage up and fears at bay, I wrote down some words of encouragement to myself. I glanced at them every once in a while when I felt a bit like the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz or Eeyore of Winnie the Pooh.

  I squirreled away phrases like “Can’t lives on won’t street” and country singer Kasey Musgrave’s favorite mantra, “There’s always a reward in choosing to be the most vulnerable.” But the phrase that popped into my head on that October afternoon was, “Love is the only thing that matters.”  

As I mentally fingered the words, I was comforted. It was as if they not only put our relationship but my life into perspective. A truism possessed of magical powers, it provided  solace when the stresses of learning the ways of a different country threatened to fall down around my ears.

After Mike died, the phrase was turned on its head. It instantly and irrevocably distilled the meaning and value of our twenty-two years together into seven tiny words. Love was the only thing that mattered; I told myself over and over as I ordered flowers for his memorial service, thumbed through a thousand memories, and smiled in response to the softly murmured condolences of friends and family.

I thought the amount of money we had in the bank and whether or not he managed to straighten up his office before the doorbell announced company were things that mattered while Michael was alive. Now that he’s gone, I realize that these were nothing compared to the joy of having him back, even for a minute.

Don’t get me wrong; I know there are expectations in any healthy relationship. Some are met, and some aren’t. I’m just saying that love is the vital thing. It’s the glue that holds a relationship together in the face of the everyday adversities life tosses in our direction.

So, when Marty and I are having another disagreement over the number of throw pillows making themselves comfortable in our living room or whether or not I serve a starch with every meal, somewhere in the back of my mind, I remember that despite the feelings I have about these things in the moment, the love we have for each other is truly the only thing that counts.

Published by: charlesdavis

Charles Davis, MSW, is the author of a couple of scientific journal articles, some encyclopedia entries and a chapter in a nursing textbook. He was a semifinalist for the 2023 Mason Jar Press 1729 Prize in Prose. A public speaker, Davis conducts training on disability law, disability etiquette, sexuality, and learning how to navigate grief as a gay man. He’s also obsessed with writing about classic films.

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7 thoughts on “The Only Thing That Matters”

  1. So true Charles. Your message resonates with me. The love we have in our relationships commands us through all the quibbles and quakes of life. By the way, I overlooked telling you that I was absolutely charmed by meeting Marty. What a great person to have in your life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a message that seems obvious on its face, but I find it easy to forget when I’m in the midst of being angry about something somebody I care about has done or all wound up in the importance of being right. Totally agree about Marty, btw. I’m a lucky fellow.


  2. There is so much depth in your words. These seven worlds get so much more meaning due to the story behind them. If we take the time to step back and think about it, even in times of anger and arguments, we understand that love is the only thing that matters. What do we have, if we don’t have love? And the good thing is that love is always there. It may change form but it never vanishes. Much love!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re so right, Erika. It’s the stepping back and tempering my feelings with love when I’m angry that’s the hard part for me, but it’s one of the bittersweet lessons Michael’s death laid at my doorstep. And thanks for reminding me that love is so central to our happiness that if we don’t have it in our lives, we don’t have much. Love to you. Charles

      Liked by 1 person

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