Saturday, February 16, 2013

Some Thoughts on Love

love hearts
Photo Credit
Sometimes, life seems completely out of balance, with an overload of one idea drowning out all others.

Like a plate piled high with thick and rick chocolate cake and only a sliver of vanilla ice cream.

Irritating, confusing, and sometimes tragic, this state of affairs is not a surprise to the observant Christian, yet even he is susceptible. He is in danger of letting his guard down and failing to recognizing the inconsistencies. He is in danger of swinging far out toward the other extremes, in an attempt to escape the world's. Yet, to my mind, the greatest danger he is in is that of simply accepting the world's view and trying to superimpose God on top.

And when I say "he", I really mean "she."

Why? Because Thursday was Valentine's Day (for those of you living in a windowless hut in the jungle with no calendar), and, as such, I had the opportunity to hear, read, and see the thoughts of many young ladies with regard to the day.

Usually, the February 14th sentiments, conversations, and writings of single young ladies seem to be penned by one of three different authoresses: the historian, the romantic, or the lonely. Which categorizations tend to hold true regardless of the spiritual climate of the writer. Yes, those who are saved may find a different angle by which to travel, a fresh "waiting for my valentine" -type saying to coin, a new discovery to share about what true love is - but the seed of their thoughts often reveals a sad state. The world has brainwashed us to worship romance for a day.

Dear ones, why is this? Why have we, as Christian maidens, bought into the mentality that, for 24 hours a year, suddenly romantic love is god, instead of what we proclaim the other 364 days - that God is love? Why should princesses - chosen by the Father, redeemed by Jesus, sanctified by the Spirit - suddenly have a day dedicated to sighs, moodiness, and fruitless daydreams in the middle of the second month of the year simply because the world has chosen to worship love between two flawed individuals as though it were perfect on that day?

In the introduction to his book, The Four Loves, C.S. Lewis observes:

Esquadrilha da Fumaça
Photo Credit
Idolatry both of erotic love and of "the domestic affections" was the great error of nineteenth-century literature. Browning, Kingsley, and Patmore sometimes talk as if they thought falling in love was the same thing as sanctification; the novelists habitually oppose the "the World" not the Kingdom of Heaven, but the home.... The human loves can be glorious images of the Divine love. No less than that: but also no more....

Sweet sisters, if one comes to February 14th each year thinking of roses and chocolates and candle-lit dinners, and then attempts to superimpose God on top of that mentality with "Jesus is my Valentine"-type sayings (which, while to a certain extent true, drastically trivialize the magnitude and depth of the Sacrifice by equating it with a pink, lacy card covered in hearts) is this revealing a Christian World View, or a Christianized Worldly View?

It would be silly and illogical to praise and hold as excellent a beginning violinist who can barely scratch out "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" in the presence of Itzhak Perlman. Certainly, one must acknowledge the Twinkler - encourage her, praise her, and admire her effort - but not to the snubbing or ignoring of the Maestro. Christ's love is a beautiful thing. Our love for each other - whether that of sibling, friend, spouse, mentor, or fiancee - is also beautiful. Who would contest these truths? Yet, to celebrate one to the nigh exclusion of the best is not a worthy action. Certainly to sigh over and wish for the lesser, ignoring the greater (except in an attempt to draw parallels between the two) is not worth our time.

Valentine's Day is a day celebrating love, the highest form of which an unsaved world knows being that of romance, but we have known a deeper, more beautiful, more praise-worthy kind. Should we not defer our raptures of greatest wonder and sighs of deepest amazement to this - Christ's love toward, in, and through us? When princesses of a Kingdom Not Seen choose for one day a year to sigh and fantasize for a prince they do not have, ignoring the love of a greater, deeper kind that they wholly possess, I see chocolate cake and wonder where the ice cream is.

Now, I am not calling for the abandonment of bon-bons, flowers, and romantic dinners on February 14th - dear me no! But to again quote the wise Lewis, "When first things are put first, second things are not suppressed, but increased."


Rachel said...

Well said. :)

Lauren said...

So, so true! I've never really been the one to feel lonely on Valentine's Day--that temptation never really occured to me. But you are so right about emphasizing Jesus above all. And I love your question about whether we have a Christian worldview or a Christianized worldly view.

SarahJayne said...

Thanks, Rachy :)
Lauren, I know - I never really felt lonely/sad on Valentine's Day, either, but as I became more aware over the years that other girls did feel that way, I had to understand why. And the "lesson" is certainly applicable and one I have been learning in other spheres!