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Tag Archives: Romance

“The One” Doesn’t Exist

Acquaintances and casual friends think I’m so stable. They make me laugh. Inside, it’s a non-stop tilt-a-whirl ride.

But just last week, I attended a seminar that helped to ground me. How? The speaker rejected the myth of “The One.” Addressing a small crowd of singles looking for love, he said, “There are literally hundreds of people you could have a very happy marriage with.”

I wanted to shout, “Hallelujah!” But this is the Northwest, not the Bible Belt.

Even though I consider myself a romantic, I gave up a long time ago the idea that there is only one person in the world to make me happy. I believe that having happiness in marriage has less to do with destiny and more so stubborn effort and a whole lot of grace. So an arranged marriage could be as fulfilling as a love marriage. Theoretically. But my actions have not matched my beliefs.

Listening to the speaker, I suddenly realized I have acted as if afraid to miss “The One.” I overthink, overanalyze, and overly obsess over the young men I meet and our every interaction. Sometimes it’s all I can do to whimper to God the monosyllabic, Help.

Other times I am more like the disciples shouting, “Don’t you care if we drown?” (Mark 4:38).

Credit: Abaconda Management Group, https://flic.kr/p/bdq7j6

Credit: Abaconda Management Group, https://flic.kr/p/bdq7j6

Then Jesus stands up, tells off the wind like disciplining a naughty child who knew better, and commands the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” (Mark 4:39).

Suddenly there is peace. The clouds are still there, but it has stopped raining.

I sit down with Jesus in the gently rocking boat, and he asks, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (Mark 4:40).

At the seminar, the speaker’s words had the same effect.

The One doesn’t exist. And if that’s true, how should that change my fear? How should that impact my faith?

I’ve believed for so long that there was no Prince Charming coming to rescue me. Now the realization finally came that I can stop worrying about missing the prince’s white horse. There is no white horse to be waiting for.

What if marriage is more like a train leaving at 12 o’clock sharp? The train will leave without me if I’m not there when the conductor shouts, “All aboard!” But the thing is…there will be another train tomorrow.

The lie is that I need to seize onto every opportunity that comes along, any eligible young man who looks my way, or risk missing the one who is meant to be my life partner. If I don’t smile just so…walk over there…start a conversation…laugh at his jokes…look pretty… So what? Qué será, será.

It’s been fifteen years since I trusted my pastor to dip me in the river as a sign of my new life in Jesus. Rounding so many years of faith, I’m still learning to trust God. Every morning, I have to let myself be dipped in the waters all over again. Let go, he tells me. Why are you so afraid?

 
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Posted by on March 19, 2015 in Other thoughts

 

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Love Isn’t Always a Chick-Flick

I finished reading The Four Loves by C. S. Lewis while riding a bus into downtown Seattle. I told you a month ago that I bought this book at Powell’s Books by a friend’s recommendation. It was a good read with plenty to think about on every page, so it takes some time even though it is only 141 pages. My strategy was to read a few pages at a time while eating breakfast, or riding the bus when I only had half a chapter to go.

If you’ve never heard of this book, C. S. Lewis describes and analyzes the four main categories of love that humans experience. He calls these: affection, friendship, eros, and charity.

  • Affection generally applies to relationships like between parents and their children where the love is demonstrated as care and concern. In these relationships, affection is taken for granted and assumed to be something inherently deserved (a parent is expected to care for the child).
  • Friendship is usually seen between members of the same gender, according to Lewis, and it forms because the friends find something in common that separates them from other people (like stamp collecting or the dream to start a petting zoo).
  • While friendship is focused on some common outward direction, Lewis calls an inward-focused love “eros.” “When I spoke of Friends as side by side or shoulder to shoulder I was pointing a necessary contrast between their posture and that of the lovers whom we picture face to face,” Lewis writes. Romantic lovers share eros. When we talk about “falling in love,” we mean “eros.”
  • Finally, there’s charity. Out of the four loves, Lewis says this is the only one that doesn’t come naturally. It instead comes directly by God’s grace to be either given or received.

Charity is probably the one love our culture commonly ignores beyond the rest. Listening to popular music and watching recent movies, it would seem as if we worshiped eros. Interestingly, Lewis says friendship is equal to eros and as necessary. Affection, too, is important. But above these, charity deserves the most notice, if only for its distinctiveness of coming directly from God.

God is compared to the roles of a Father, a Friend, and a Lover, but he actually shares charity with us instead of any of the other loves in our world. Often, he loves us in this way through other people. “In reality we all need at times, some of us at most times, that Charity from others which, being Love Himself in them, loves the unlovable,” says Lewis. “But this, though a sort of love we need, is not the sort we want. We want to be loved for our cleverness, beauty, generosity, fairness, usefulness.” So even though charity surpasses the other loves, and in fact, imitates the love of God himself, it’s still the one we neglect.

God is love, and Lewis says, “He communicates to men a share of His own Gift-love.” Charity seeks the good for a loved one that the loved one may not necessarily want or ask for, but it is no less good for the loved one. And with charity, we have the grace to love anyone even despite lacking anything that could make them deserving of love. “Divine Gift-love in the man enables him to love what is not naturally lovable; lepers, criminals, enemies, morons, the sulky, the superior and the sneering,” says Lewis.

We also have grace to love God back. “There is of course a sense in which no one can give to God anything which is not already His; and if it is already His what have you given?” says Lewis. “But since it is only too obvious that we can withhold ourselves, our wills and hearts, from God, we can, in that sense, also give them.” That’s what Christianity is all about, isn’t it? To be loved by God and to love him back?

 
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Posted by on June 29, 2012 in Books

 

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