The Best Things In Life Are Not Free

I gave away the “punch line”, if you will, in the title of this blog post, so I guess I will have to approach this post a bit differently.  Recently I’ve been thinking about life (what else’s new) and about sacrifice.  Let’s see… where do I begin…

This past week, I spent a lot of time with my cousin and her family.  She just recently had a baby (their second) and now they are the proud parents of a spunky 2 year old son and a sweet 3 month old daughter.  For the past 6 years, I’ve been living within a 5 block radius from my cousin and her husband, but admittedly, I haven’t seen them as often as I’d like, considering our close relationship.  My excuse has always been life.  Life gets busy and there just doesn’t seem to be enough time to go around to see everyone as much as I’d like. But there’s no way I’m going to let my cousin’s kids grow up without knowing their favorite auntie; and to solidify my place in their lives as their favorite, I need to spend time with them and love on them.  So I’ve been going over more than usual and helping in any way that I can.  Granted it was pretty awkward in the beginning since I didn’t know the first thing about taking care of a baby, but I’m finally starting to get the hang of it (after 2 years!).

Ever since they had kids, I’ve noticed that their lives have changed dramatically.  They are great parents and love their kids so much, but they’ll be the first to admit that they lost a huge amount of freedom when they had kids.  Maybe almost all of their freedom.  Anyone who has had children knows what this is like.  Your time is not your time anymore.  Your food is not your food anymore.  Your house is not your house anymore.  Your money is not your money anymore.  There is an incredible amount of adjustments that parents have to make in order to provide a loving and caring household for the baby, especially since babies are practically helpless.  They cannot do a thing on their own, except excrete.  They need to be constantly watched and when they have a need, it must be met.  Otherwise, you are in for a long night.  Even if you do everything “right”, you’re still in for a long night.  I can’t imagine what it would be like if I had a baby.  All of my routines and rights and freedom that I have would be altered, forever.  I suppose no one is really ready for all of these changes, but still, it is a tremendous impact on one’s life.  Parents are willing to give of themselves for the good of their children.  Because they love their kids and want the best for them.

Mainly, it requires sacrifice… of an enormous magnitude.

I’ve been talking to a couple of newlywed friends recently, and there seems to be a consensus among them all.  Marriage is hard.  It might be one of the hardest things to maintain (and this coming from just marrieds!).  But they work through their struggles and press forward because they love each other. To give up without fighting for it with all of their soul and mind and strength, would be to give up on the very thing they committed their lives to.  It would be a true atrocity.  So they work through it by giving of themselves for the other person.

Mostly, it requires sacrifice… of an enormous magnitude.

The fruit (benefits) of a relationship (of any kind) can be the best thing that life has to offer.  And that’s why I think we all pursue it, or at least long for it.  But in order to enjoy the fruit, there is a cost of an enormous magnitude that must be paid.  Sacrifice must be a part of the equation for love to exist.

So I don’t believe in that common phrase anymore.  Instead, I say, the best things in life are NOT free.

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