Tue | May 23, 2017

The things we do for love

Published:Tuesday | March 31, 2015 | 3:00 AMPatria-Kaye Aarons

I'm not exactly a saint. I'm the same girl who, on the occasion of carnival, gave up church for Lent. If God didn't smite me then, I am proof that he is merciful and forgiving.

But that's not the general idea. The season of Lent requires that you give up something you love for a month and a half. Identify a vice and rid your life of it for 40 days - and, hopefully, for the rest of your life. Most opt to give up things like soda or cigarettes or alcohol. For me, this year, I gave up pork.

If I'm going to be totally truthful, the sacrifice was spurred less by Lent and more by love. I'm completely and madly in love with a Rastaman. With a Seventh-day Adventist Rastaman. You can see why my pork-loving ways would be a problem. So much to his delight, unprompted, out of sheer respect for him and his religious beliefs, I have given up pork. Understand that, for me, this is a huge deal.

Prior to love and Lent, I would find myself every Friday night at Scotchies buying a pound of jerk pork, corn, sweet potato, and coconut water. Bacon would be a staple feature in breakfast four out of seven mornings a week, and once a month I'd make the best guava-glazed ribs. Stew peas just wasn't stew peas for me without pig's tail, and don't get me started on ham. So the decision to part with pig is huge.

 

greater sacrifices

 

I've heard stories of others who have made great sacrifices for love far more significant than my parting with 'trenton'. I know of women who have migrated and left the security and familiarity of home and family to be with one man. I know one guy who totally cut off all his friends because his wife didn't like them.

One woman I know gave up her dream of motherhood because her husband was sterile. Buddhist monks give up all things worldly for the love of their God, and Catholic priests for the same reason commit to a life of poverty.

But that's the thing about love. Whether the love of man or God or self, those things that you hold dear, it sometimes requires that you part with them. All-encompassing love is a little selfish and requires that you prove your love with sacrifice. Love me alone and no other woman, have no other God but me, it's either me or the pork; love causes us to choose.

And, as humans, we repeatedly make this choice because the love of the thing we selected is greater than the love of the thing we set aside. Love is worth the sacrifice.

I actually don't have a problem giving up pork. It really is immaterial in the grand scheme of things and, more important, it doesn't change who I am at my core.

Nothing irks me more than love that asks you to change who you are. Love that idolises your potential and loathes your present is toxic. You ever have that friend you can't recognise in a new relationship? That chameleon who morphs into whoever their new partner wants them to be? That isn't love.

In the midst of the proving and sacrifices, love should change you for better and spur you to be the best version of yourself.

Pork I can do without. Patria, absolutely not.

- Patria-Kaye Aarons is a television presenter and confectioner. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and findpatria@yahoo.com, or tweet @findpatria.