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Don’t Hope,… Decide!

While waiting to pick up a friend at the airport in Portland, Oregon, I had one of those life-changing experiences that you hear other people talk about — the kind that sneaks up on you unexpectedly. This one occurred a mere two feet away from me.

Straining to locate my friend among the passengers deplaning through the jet way, I noticed a man coming toward me carrying two light bags. He stopped right next to me to greet his family.

First he motioned to his youngest son (maybe six years old) as he laid down his bags. They gave each other a long, loving hug. As they separated enough to look in each other’s face, I heard the father say, “It’s so good to see you, son. I missed you so much!” His son smiled somewhat shyly, averted his eyes and replied softly, “Me, too, Dad!”

Then the man stood up, gazed in the eyes of his oldest son (maybe nine or ten) and while cupping his son’s face in his hands said, “You’re already quite the young man. I love you very much, Zach!” They too hugged a most loving, tender hug.

While this was happening, a baby girl (perhaps one or one-and-a-half) was squirming excitedly in her mother’s arms, never once taking her little eyes off the wonderful sight of her returning father. The man said, “Hi, baby girl!” as he gently took the child from her mother. He quickly kissed her face all over and then held her close to his chest while rocking her from side to side. The little girl instantly relaxed and simply laid her head on his shoulder, motionless in pure contentment.

After several moments, he handed his daughter to his oldest son and declared, “I’ve saved the best for last!” and proceeded to give his wife the longest, most passionate kiss I ever remember seeing. He gazed into her eyes for several seconds and then silently mouthed. “I love you so much!” They stared at each other’s eyes, beaming big smiles at one another, while holding both hands.

For an instant they reminded me of newlyweds, but I knew by the age of their kids that they couldn’t possibly be. I puzzled about it for a moment then realized how totally engrossed I was in the wonderful display of unconditional love not more than an arm’s length away from me. I suddenly felt uncomfortable, as if I was invading something sacred, but was amazed to hear my own voice nervously ask, “Wow! How long have you two been married?

“Been together fourteen years total, married twelve of those.” he replied, without breaking his gaze from his lovely wife’s face. “Well then, how long have you been away?” I asked. The man finally turned and looked at me, still beaming his joyous smile. “Two whole days!”

Two days? I was stunned. By the intensity of the greeting, I had assumed he’d been gone for at least several weeks – if not months. I know my expression betrayed me.

I said almost offhandedly, hoping to end my intrusion with some semblance of grace (and to get back to searching for my friend), “I hope my marriage is still that passionate after twelve years!”

The man suddenly stopped smiling.

He looked me straight in the eye, and with forcefulness that burned right into my soul, he told me something that left me a different person. He told me, “Don’t hope, friend… decide!” Then he flashed me his wonderful smile again, shook my hand and said, “God bless!”

– By Michael D. Hargrove and Bottom Line Underwriters, Inc.
Copyright 1997

{ 210 comments… add one }
  • Sharon Miller June 20, 2023, 9:35 am

    I really loved that story. We often times are not purposeful in the things we do. We wish and hope but we need to decide and then work daily towards that end.

  • Gracy lily August 2, 2022, 6:16 am

    What a grt family. D story is really inspiring

  • Esther February 11, 2022, 12:24 am


  • kavita March 1, 2021, 12:36 pm

    Wow such a lovely family Awesome story shows decisions can be made instead of hoping things will happen.

  • Ignatius Ihugo April 1, 2020, 10:01 pm

    It shows that our lives are mainly based on decisions we make. I loved the story.

  • Awoii August 8, 2017, 8:34 am

    Wow clever word

  • INVOCAVIT SILAA September 24, 2016, 5:12 pm

    The story is very inspirational,
    I LIKE such a family love.

  • Dipanshu June 17, 2016, 2:49 am

    Very touching story

  • Areesha May 9, 2016, 6:25 am

    Most inspiring stories!
    Awesome Web <3

  • Jasper April 14, 2016, 6:23 pm

    I like this story

  • Jasper April 14, 2016, 6:22 pm

    Awesome story I have decided

  • John walker March 13, 2016, 2:01 pm

    Real encouragement.. I like this story.. Has inspired me alot

  • Mac September 28, 2015, 7:59 pm

    Wow πŸ™‚ That was good, really inspired.. <3

  • Elhadi Bashir July 1, 2015, 6:31 pm

    Nice post. That was amazing. may we all find someone like that in our life

  • Clint March 10, 2015, 12:42 pm

    The story is GREAT,indeed. If we’ll just decide and not just sitting around doing nothing waiting for our Luck to come. Maybe we can build a strong family relation like the man from the story..

  • fayaz January 11, 2015, 1:45 pm

    Really……. Inspired the way you written the stories and selecting the concepts……great

  • Angie Lee Grace Joarque November 3, 2014, 1:14 am

    Wow… thank you so much for this article.

  • Marcelline kata July 26, 2014, 4:37 am

    It was really a heart touching story. Generally man worries a lot about a material life and forgets about a family life. Two days of his stay away from his family made him feel as if for two years, only because his love towards his family is true and great. So let’s decide to live a lovely family life.

  • Appu June 22, 2014, 12:16 am

    Very good. Really nice story.

  • Angelie Oquialda March 30, 2014, 8:33 am

    Nice story…

  • RAJESH KUMAR March 3, 2014, 7:32 am

    After reading this story I called to my wife to say I Love You.

  • Kennmarie February 2, 2014, 10:01 pm

    Nice story . . . . glad I read it πŸ™‚

  • Chirag January 30, 2014, 8:24 am

    Rightly said…

  • Thoriso November 26, 2013, 7:22 am

    “Don’t hope friend just decide” Powerfull words. You leave me powerless because I always hoping but now you opened my eyes is time to think out of the box really touching words God bless.

  • Jyoti November 12, 2013, 8:33 am

    A really wonderful story that touches my heart… from today… deciding means a lot to me!!!

  • Amalu November 3, 2013, 9:54 am

    Lovely….. decide & act in your life.

  • Satav Milind October 5, 2013, 10:13 am

    Very nice story…awesome….touched me..

  • Purvi panchal September 24, 2013, 9:50 pm

    Superb..!!!! True love never ends..!!!!!

  • Camilia September 13, 2013, 2:09 pm

    Wonderful story, very inspiring and touching.

  • Naveen September 12, 2013, 8:14 am

    I thought while reading this story that he left his family by 1 year but after I read I really feel very happy.. I will forever ever remember this moral and I will decide to love anyone like this.

  • Diel Cortes September 11, 2013, 10:14 pm

    A lesson about the story is that “Love is not all about emotions but it’s a decision” πŸ™‚

  • Satya August 8, 2013, 10:11 am

    This is such an emotional story and just reading this has let me feeling great. Thanks a lot for sharing something worth so much!

  • G.M.S July 21, 2013, 1:52 pm

    Finally… Decide, act, persistently doing… best result will come.

  • Song muna July 11, 2013, 4:26 pm

    Amen! I won’t regret and hope, but I will make my decision and decide my way today. Thank for that moral story.

  • Arunjkj July 7, 2013, 6:06 am

    Good and learned.

  • Uzma June 25, 2013, 9:24 pm

    Start loving and you will be loved more.

  • Sefactivity June 17, 2013, 2:02 pm

    Nice piece

  • Sharif June 14, 2013, 2:55 am

    Thank you. I love it.

  • Anonymous June 12, 2013, 7:18 am


  • Sittie Faizah Amron June 8, 2013, 11:09 pm


  • Imee June 3, 2013, 2:01 am


  • Shivani Kashyap May 31, 2013, 5:10 am


  • Ahror May 12, 2013, 2:23 pm

    Wow, no comment, very wonderful.

  • Adeline April 29, 2013, 9:59 am

    It’s a very good story and me and my husband is just the same and we’re 17 yrs married now……

  • Wir-oho April 25, 2013, 6:38 pm

    Wonderful… decide to begin your real hope…focus and love … happiness is now in your hand….keep smile.

  • Sneha April 25, 2013, 4:07 am

    It was as a simple story that conveyed a beautiful message..!! It is worth understanding..!!

  • Ming April 22, 2013, 7:48 am


  • Mohammad Bohra April 18, 2013, 4:22 am

    WOW! very nice story.

  • Mose April 16, 2013, 10:33 am

    Is true and inspiring.

  • Richard Beaten k April 3, 2013, 8:06 am

    So touching and lovely. I love it.

  • Georgefun March 31, 2013, 10:16 pm

    Similar to what my mother said just before she passed away. “I’ve learned that people are as happy as they decide they’re gonna be”

  • Lino March 25, 2013, 1:18 am

    Wow!!! It shows unselfish family ties. What a wonderful family.

  • Mayar AbdEl-bary March 24, 2013, 3:01 am

    It’s amazing, he is really emotional intelligent and he knows the importance of his family .. I loved the part when he said “I’ve saved the best for the last.”

  • EquusSupreme March 13, 2013, 9:46 am

    Damn! I just had a short burst of argument with my beautiful pregnant wife, and as I tried to vent off my anger through work, I encountered the story. Made my temper dropped down so fast, I know I am like the father in the story, it is a pleasure to constantly make my wife feel loved, but tonight I felt I was not valued, got so up-set I said things to my wife I regretted. I have DECIDED to make things well by tomorrow, when things get cooler. God, you are just so WONDERFUL.

  • Manoj March 12, 2013, 3:35 am

    Wow….!!! An awesome story of expressing your true love.

  • Cazeil March 5, 2013, 3:03 am

    @Jewel ify
    It isn’t “unreal” my dear friend. I’m sure God is preparing someone for you. Just keep your fingers crossed that He will give you the guy that is worthy of your love. Believe in Faith! <-:

  • Pancreas_98* March 1, 2013, 6:36 am

    I like this story, is really motivating and inspiring! I can’t wait to share this passion with someone in the future!

  • Jewel ify February 25, 2013, 5:45 am

    Hmm, so sweet, yet so unreal, I wish I would have a man love me like this, I am more than ready to love this way, but have not found a man to love me this way. I think this kind of love is long gone.

  • Edukondalu February 20, 2013, 5:02 am

    I decided 4 such endless love. I am not married still. πŸ™‚

  • Wiche Esther February 19, 2013, 5:00 am

    Wow!!! I must confess that I don’t know the right WORD 2 use in describing this story. It’s more than being SPLENDID. I hope 4 such endless love.

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