I’ll be honest. I don’t always feel very loving toward my family. Sometimes they annoy the hell out of me and I want to run away. And stay hidden.
But I don’t.
And that says more about love than a thousand poorly written love songs. I think.
Love is a “many splendoured thing”, as the song says, but it is also a many disfigured thing. Our modern fixation with all that is new and shiny has depleted our corporate store of those things which last.
People are silly. They want something that works perfectly every time. We want a smiling face, an eager approach, and a gratifyingly focused attention. The girl crew, the women, to lump us all up and make gross over-generalizations, want our Prince Charming. The Disney Version.
We balk at the thought of behaving with the kindness, compassion, clarity, or independence of a Snow White, a Cinderella, a Sleeping Beauty. It becomes easy to think that our mates, the men in our lives, should be “trained” into a gallant knight, bursting with chivalry and desperate to not only meet but anticipate our every want. We want him to be the height of virtue, honor, dignity, sex-appeal, and devotion. We have a plan to re-create him in that image and, in so doing, make him anything but a man for whom we cultivate admiration and desire. When the men follow our lead, our initial attraction quickly fades to revulsion and disgust. It isn’t natural. And our very soul rebels against it.
Instead of complaining about the men and their issues, I question you, my sister-friend, what are WE doing to become Snow White, Cinderella, or Sleeping Beauty?
I, for one, have practiced singing long arpeggios in a very high register while holding tightly to the vain hope that I can train a blue jay to bring me handkerchiefs. It’s not going so well. The neighbors disapprove. I have also been working diligently on serving those around me with a positive and upbeat attitude. I think the blue jay thing is not quite as fabulous as it may have appeared to be in the movie…
But hard as we try, there are still times when he is less than ideal, no matter how much I squint and turn my head sideways. There are more times where I abuse the privilege of husband and children and, no matter how diligently they try, my behavior is inexcusable and the only reasonable course of action is apologies all around followed by quiet time apart.
A few hours. A morning walk. A blog post on what love is and isn’t…
The first blush of love, the infatuation, the romance and the tinglies are all a lovely thing to experience. For some it lasts a long time. Others, it fades quickly, replaced by a quiet determination to walk out a Biblical love that bears as much resemblance to modern affection as Yoda bears to the Hulk.
For those of us who live somewhere in the middle of that truth, there are many days where the lightest touch makes me lose my train of thought, I anticipate his voice and hoard all my best moments of the day to share with him and him alone. The truth is, though, that there are also many days where the thought of time spent alone is irritating and I can’t have One More Conversation about the state of our nation, how it correlates to Israel and Biblical prophecy and, by the way, have I ordered another 3 month food supply we had talked about?
Love waits. Not just for the wedding night. It waits to rekindle, to ebb and flow again. It waits through the fight, the long silence, the frustration of miscommunication.
Love longs. For those moments when everything works perfectly, when I can finish his sentences by actually saying what he intended to say. (Note: This is rare…)
Love hopes. Tomorrow will be better than today.
Love bears all things. It doesn’t throw away decades of life spent together. It steps up and carries the hard times, the bad attitudes, the crushing sarcasm.
Love endures. It is the constant, the steady, the rhythmic pounding of a heart that keeps the beat of shared lives lived together.
Love recognizes that the person across the table, the bed, the living room, the country, the planet is worth the effort to hope for, long after, endure for, and bear.
Love is a taste of divinity within the created being. It is a supernatural event that produces miraculous results.
And it’s absence? It’s perversion into selfish ambition?
Destroys everything it touches.