Thursday, March 21, 2013

On Love

I have not written on a blog in ages. This is due to the fact that I am realizing, more and more, that I do not enjoy blogging all that much. It feels quite constraining, even though I make posts that are often long. I would rather write books and take my time than just writing stream of consciousness writing that I will never edit. In any case, I felt the need to write this particular blog because...well, I am not sure really. But, I guess I want to get my thoughts down on this particular subject considering how part of me is still heartbroken over last year. I'm not planning on promoting this, so if you're reading this. Welcome haha. Anyway, I have been leafing through "The Imitation of Christ" by Thomas a Kempis and decided to read the segment called "Proof of a True Lover." It was and is of particular interest to me, because I am naturally inclined towards romantic entanglements and the Church and Scriptures often refer to our reconciliation as preparing for a wedding feast. A wedding, you'll recall, is what our culture considers the summit of our expression of romantic love for another person. In fact, a wedding is actually a completely different sort of event, an event that you are not allowed to remain unchanged by. A fairly wise protestant minister I know once said that a marriage is two funerals and one resurrection. This is what proponents of "traditional" marriage are fighting for and, it is this disconnect in our thinking that makes the conversation as contentious as it is. The wedding is merely the start of the romantic adventure, the prelude to an ongoing battle against the forces of evil, if you will. I'm not really wanting to focus on marriage here, however. I want to comment on this particular part of the passage in question: "Christ: My child, you are not yet a valiant wise lover. Disciple: Why, Lord? Christ: Because with a little adversity you leave off what oyu have begun and eagerly seek outward consolation. valiant lovers of God stand firm in time of temptation and pay no attention to the deceitful suggestions of their enemy, the devil. When all goes well with them, I please them; and so do I please them when things go wrong." This passage really strikes home with me because it is how I have seen romantic love for a long time, and it really does parallel our relationship with Christ. This is why, I believe, marriage is a sacrament in the Church. You truly do learn more about loving Christ, and living for Christ, when you join in matrimony and attempt the same project with an imperfect human person. The fact that Christ is perfect is probably one of the biggest deterrents, because we become aware of our faults in His presence. People do not want to believe that there is anything wrong with them in any sense. We see examples of this in other matters of life, but I want to keep this focused on romantic love and was is called Charity (caritas). With our spouses, or significant others, we encounter the good and bad within ourselves. We encounter the fact that, if this marriage/relationship is going to work, we need to change. We need to start with the "Man in the Mirror," if we want this world to become a better place. A good marriage takes work, and a lot of that work is going to be working on yourself and how you relate to your spouse. That said, I think that that very same deterrent for Christ is part of our issue with marriage, family, and our spouses. No one wants to change or to admit that a trait in their character is flawed. We want to be perfect, an inborn desire that should--hopefully--spur us on toward Christ. So, we lie to ourselves and put everything else on the other person. Well, a lot of us do. Considering my childhood and natural temperament, I tend to assume that it was ALL my fault, even when I know that it makes no logical sense. It is something that I am working on, and I've gotten a lot better on admitting to the flaws of both myself and my significant other. My last relationship ended before we really got to put any time in. She came in suddenly, with overtures. I was shocked to find out the way we could talk about so many things that I could only really hint at before. We both fell swiftly into love with one another. Honestly, she may have pushed harder initially, in the sense that she was often the first to make those deep statements of love at the beginning. That usually was enough to prompt me to admit to my own feelings toward her. We truly seemed marriage material, just like that. However, marriage requires death. A relationship that is going toward that goal, the goal that is a new beginning, needs both people to be willing to sacrifice. In the end, I was willing to do that and she was not. She sensed everything was not perfect, which I would have already admitted to, and detached herself in order to make a break for it. It was too much, too fast, and it was frightening. I cannot blame her really, I've had similar freak outs. It has resulted, often, in missed opportunities that I can never retrieve. Who knows where I would be without that scamper from something real. Anyway, she let her thoughts turn outward and looked for greener pastures. She was already doing this well before she broke it of, but kept up appearances. She seemed pleased with me, though she was admitting to being a bit smothered. I was trying to accommodate her and backing off. You see, I had no realized that I had begun to hold on so tightly. I saw this more clearly when she was gone, but I still firmly believe that those issues were all fixable, if she was willing to work on it with me. I was willing, she was not. When things were not perfect, she reached a point where my particular differences or foolish moments were no longer pleasing to her. She was not pleased with me, when things were bad (though they really were never that bad for us). There were other outside issues she was dealing with and I think that put even more pressure on us. That said, while I believe myself to be a valiant lover in my romantic relationships, I am not yet a valiant lover of Christ. I love Him, sure; but, I tend to do the most foolish things when I feel like He is withholding something or treating me poorly. I do this for many reasons, but the only pertinent one is my humanity. Things are not as they should, and we all know that deep down. We all manifest our sin differently, but it is sin just the same. That is something I need to be much better on, because I know that my help, and my everything, are ultimately found within his Sacred Heart. So, I pray that I am more romantic toward my relationship with the Lord from now on. I've run out of momentum and I think that I got everything down that I was thinking. I was most concerned with the search for greener pastures. I merely hope that we all learn to follow through, one day.

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