If you didn’t have Tina Turner stuck in your head, now you do. You’re welcome.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about love. Relationships. Marriage. Friendships. Dating. Craziness. All of us have some idea about what love looks like and what we want it to be. I’ve been reading Scripture, books, articles and tweets about it. We have so much to say, and I believe it’s because we all desire some form of it in our lives.
In the middle of my thoughts and musings, I ran across this Salon.com article, “The 9 smartest marriage tips ever“. There are some pretty awesome pieces of advice in there. But then I hit this quote and it struck me deeply.
There is something absolutely divine — I mean, literally, the breath of God — in the ability to put someone else in your heart, to think of them first. But from the time of the greatest pornographer who ever lived, Shakespeare, we’ve demanded that love be something more. … And what happens is, the utter grandeur and magnificence of what love actually is gets overshadowed by this disappointment that it’s not the way we fantasized it should be.
I can’t stop thinking about what this man, Jim, is saying. First of all, he calls Shakespeare a pornographer. In an emotional sense, it’s true. He painted pretty words about love. Created tragic pictures about young love and heart-warming stories of merry love. However, we take his words and the words of others and search for an experience. (That’s not all Shakespeare’s fault. It would be lame to lay the blame at the feet of a man who is over 500 years dead.) Eventually love becomes about what someone else can do for us. While mutual love is to be desired in relationship, I think it screws with the mind and heart when entitlement is our entire focus.
Then I started thinking about this quote in the context of some of my own relationships. How often am I seeking to serve those in my life out of true caring? What am I expecting out of others that I’m not willing to give? And just how badly have I screwed this up in years past?
I’m not suggesting becoming a doormat. However, think of how you work, or do business. There is an oft expressed sentiment that you only get out of something what you put into it. We seem to apply that to every area of life but love and relationships. There’s a general sort of idea that love just happens. I think that’s wrong. Chemistry happens. Attraction happens, but love? Love is a commitment. It requires work, devotion, and sacrifice. It is patient and kind, keeps no record of wrongs. Love rejoices in truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things. It never fails . To love another the best and hardest thing we can do.
To be honest, loving others scares me. Loss, rejection, and lack of reciprocation can be paralyzing. But, I’ve always tried. I haven’t done it well, but I hope I never lose the temerity it takes to love. A long time ago, I read this quote by C.S. Lewis and it’s one I’ve returned to over the years. It reminds me to press on, be vulnerable… to love:
To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.
So what about you? What do you think about love?