I posted a video of an hour(ish) long sermon a few weeks ago, I titled that post “The Definition of Love” if my memory serves. (And it may not, so I apologize.) It is a fabulous message and I really enjoyed it, it keeps coming back to me time and time again.
Today I was at work, nursing one of the many small injuries I acquired today–mostly paper cuts, guinea pig scratches and one bite from an angry Russian hamster (today was not my day) and thinking about not the definition of Love, the verb, the action, the thing you can and should act out with every person you come in contact with, but the definition of falling in love.
I was once waiting in line for a burrito bowl at Moe’s (one of my favorite places to eat) when I heard a girl say to her friends “I think I’m falling in love with him… I’m not sure, but I think I am.” It made me mad. Not mad with her, but with our culture. Maybe it’s just me, but I know when I’m in love. I don’t mean romantic, lovey dovey “oh he’s so cute and funny and he has a nice smile” thing, that is what’s called a crush. I don’t have those. I might occasionally meet/see a guy who I have a temporary interest in, but it is always a critical interest. Each time I come in contact with him I analyze him. What’s the point of having some kind of “thing” for a guy who is attractive, but deep down just a shallow jerk? It’s such a waste!
So what does it mean to fall in love, then? I honestly can’t say definitively. But I can say what it means for me.
Falling in love is when you’ve analyzed someone, quizzed them, tested them, and inquired of them until you know them extremely well. You’ve seen their faults, and you’ve seen their strengths. You’ve had a few disagreements, but you’ve worked them all out and come out better on the other side. You’ve watched them mature and grow closer to God, and they’ve helped you do the same. And suddenly one day you look at them and a quiet, calm, peaceful thought sprouts roots in your mind, it whispers “I could spend the rest of my life with them, and love every minute of it.” And you realize it’s true. That no matter what you faced, you would sacrifice anything to protect the beauty you see in them. Even if it hurt sometimes, you would strive, and you would love deeply, and you would give of yourself until you ran dry if you have to, because you love them. And you’re willing to commit to loving them even during those times when you don’t “feel it”.
That kind of love doesn’t go away. Even if it doesn’t work out for whatever reason, and one day you find someone else whom you feel the same way about, I don’t think that means you stop loving them. You’ve just resigned to the fact that your love for them has to be kept quiet. That you have to move on. And it hurts.
Better is open rebuke
Than love that is concealed.
Perhaps when you’ve finally found someone who returns that same love to you, your “previous” love changes form, into something that doesn’t hurt, a gentle and endearing friendship-love. I don’t know. I just know that I see almost none of this definition of love in the world. And it makes me feel alone sometimes.
I’ve allowed myself to become something of a hermit of late, for that reason. I just see so many extremes. Extreme immaturity, extreme “religiousness”, when all I really want is someone like myself, in the sense that I am imperfect, I sin, I do stupid things sometimes, make a fool of myself. But I’m changing, I’m self analyzing, I’m striving to become more like He who rescued me. I don’t see that in many people. I just want to be in the presence of someone whom I can relax with. Not worry about being ill influenced by them, and just laugh, and be myself. Sure, mistakes are made, and no one is perfect, so obviously at some point someone will say something the other disagrees with, be it a moral objection or just a personal preference. And that is okay. It’s how we grow.
It’s why I’ve secluded myself. I feel as though I am constantly pouring myself out on those around me, and I’m empty. I’ve run out of “it”, whatever “it” is. I need someone to pour themselves into me, too. I need someone who can give as well as receive. I suppose you could tell me that I won’t find that if I don’t go out and mingle. Perhaps you’re right. But tonight, it’s almost 2am, and I have a cold, and my finger tips are sore and injured, and I’m not feeling very optimistic.