I find myself trying to understand love in many ways these days. How God loves me, how I love Him, how I love myself, how I love others, and how they love me. Maybe it’s because I’m heading into my 20th year of life and I guess the idea of a relationship is circling around my mind, but in those 20 years, I haven’t seen many functional relationships before. And no one can give me a clear explanation about how it all works.
“There’s really no way to put it, we just love each other because we do.” So why can’t we define love? I think it’s because love is moved by romance and I don’t think we really know what that means anymore.
Romance is a tricky word. With a wide-range of beliefs, needs, concerns, conditions, circumstances, preferences, likes, dislikes, desires, or whatever you would like define it by–romance is not easy to come by and it’s confusing. I read articles, I listen to my friends vent about this guy or that girl, and I watch movies that minimize (and most times exaggerate) romance all the time. But this is what the dictionary says:
a quality or feeling of mystery, excitement,
and remoteness from everyday life.
mystery (noun): something that is difficult or
impossible to understand or explain.
excitement (adjective): a feeling of great
enthusiasm and eagerness.
remoteness (adjective): far apart; far distant in space
or situated at some distance away.
Today, I don’t see the mystery. Or the excitement. Or the remoteness. I do sometimes, but I think people are just getting further and further away from the truth. Myself included, which is why I’m trying to understand it a little better.
Romance isn’t at all what I’ve been told it is. I live in an era that instead of discovering love, it has become a game–a strategy of some sort to win a prize. Instead of experiencing love, it has become minimized with lust. Instead of love being remote, it has become to certain. Our idea of romance is using sexual intimacy to get to know each other first. It’s saying the rights things and making the right moves. It’s believing love has a singular definition we’re all just trying to live by because it’s perhaps easier to do so.
And I hate being told that this is the “real world.”
No, it doesn’t have to be.
There are so many walls (some we don’t even acknowledge) that stop love from moving towards something real. Speaking for myself, I’ve always wanted to control it. I tell it how to be and where it will go… but I think more than ever I’m starting to understand that it isn’t at all how it works. No, romance is diving into a mystery, letting things be exciting and new, and allowing it to remove you remotely from what is ordinary in your own world into something extraordinary with another’s.
The best description about the motion of love is in a song by Audrey Assad called “Ought to Be” (go listen to it) I love this song bc she talks about how she believes that by offering love freely and intentionally, it will become what it will.
To become something… into what?
As a silly romantic surviving in this romantically-confusing era, I don’t believe love just sit inside of us. I think we all know what it is, but love travels effortlessly as we give and receive it. I don’t know about you, but I can’t continue to live by set expectations and guidelines that tell me how to love myself, God, my friends, or even a significant other. There really is no good way to describe how it works. Love moves gracefully by it’s own wind of romance. And I think we’re either with it or against it.
(EDIT 091614) I don’t think it’s the idea of love I can’t wrap my head around, but more of the idea of falling in love. Hmm, food for thought.
“It may not be red as a rose is yet, and it may not
be strong as the old oak trees, but love planted deeply
becomes what it ought to be.”
Ought to Be by Audrey Assad