“Romance is the deepest thing in life. It is deeper even than reality.” G.K. Chesterton
I write this for you on Memorial Day Weekend which proves the ache of romance doesn’t go away on a vacation.
The most tangible example of romance comes from falling in love with another person. That is all a lot of us know. That is all our minds have ever associated romance with. That time in high school, college, a study-abroad fling, or a late night at a friends house. “Summer-lovin’ had you a blast.” It was euphoria, bliss, ecstasy, a deep, deep covering of love all around you. You woke up singing and went to sleep late. It made you a better person, it made you more emotional, it made you feel, it made you you.
Sometimes romance opened you up in a way that, perhaps, the other person was not awakened to. Maybe they didn’t fall as hard or as deep. I know I have fallen in love with people who did not reciprocate the feelings back (or were too afraid to reciprocate them) for whatever reasons only they know, God knows. I think God allowed for their hesitation, but more on that later.
Some people can even fall in love fast, all over again, in a matter of months living as if no heartache ever existed for them. That is both perplexing and familiar to me and I won’t ever have an explanation why.
I thank God for the small ways He opened me up to romance. For the small relationships, jobs, and adventures in my life that helped me become who I am this day. Without them I would not have been able to write this. When a memory, post, or face-to-face encounter with an ex-lover comes my way my usual reaction is to get anxious and be nervous. I run away and want to leave nostalgic and sad that nothing for me is that good and romantic anymore. While this DOES happen, I also experience the satisfaction of saying, “I am proud of myself for loving someone so well and for the experience I had.”
If the goal of our romantic lives is to find “the one” you am called to marry, rationally I can tell myself why marriage would have never been a reality for the old flame and I (and you should be able to, too). Emotions aside, know the truth of the breakup. But if the goal was and is to experience romance than haven’t I already succeeded?
Ex-lovers and ex-friends who “didn’t deserve my love,” or to this day never knew how much I suffered for their sake, for their life, are not the ones to be mad at, frustrated, or bitter towards. They are to thank. Sure they were toxic and wrong for me, but they have moved on so praise God. The core of who I am was awakened, tested, tried, and moved. I exhibited new courage, new insight, deep healing, and the honor of bringing my life, my wounds, to Jesus. The romance can be so real sometimes, but now the hunger is deepened after the fact, not ruined! Thank the good Lord you were not called to stay stagnant and so mediocre in such a desire, in such a call of greatness, like LOVE.
One loves fast food forever… until he treats himself to the taste of five-star dining.
I’m not entirely sure where I am going with this post. There isn’t really a set agenda I had in mind. (sounds like romance itself, doesn’t it?) Romance is this whirlwind of our entire being. Even if we shut it off Monday through Thursday and focus on working and staying busy Florence Welch reminds us, as she sings, “it’s Friday night and it’s kicking in… we never found the answer but we knew one thing, we all have a hunger.” As Springsteen chimes in, “Everybody’s got a hungry heart.”
Ultimately, we can’t ignore it.
It is what we crave with all our being. It is an experience of adventure and deep beauty. It is a unification of your body towards a higher, unexplained reality. You have to make time for it. You have to want it. You have to fight the business and enter into it. You have to cooperate with it. You might even have to groan, cry, and punch a wall over it (ok don’t do that, go to kickboxing class).
Some find this with others, some find it in their heart of hearts through work, family-roles, and more. Some find it in their dedication to a sport, hobby, or military commitment. That is the beauty of romance; it does not come with a set-agenda but it’s a gift to you and reveals to you your deepest hunger. It makes us mad, a good mad, and opens us up to realizing even that grief is good and heals our hearts as much as joy does.
To the ones who ache, with all their being, for the desire of romance, to fall in love, to offer every bit of your body, soul, and heart to something, someone… please be my friend! And never settle. I want to hear from you and tell you “congrats! your life is not in vain! You are as beautiful as you hunger!” Your desire for adventure and beauty and love is awakened and that alone is something many people are afraid of or don’t allow themselves to feel because they fear being disappointed at the potential outcome.
It is so beautiful to see this over someone sad and settling in relationships.
Right now, as I am sure for many, the desire I have for romance is outweighing the literal romance in my life. Do I mean this because I am single? Yep. But for you it might mean because you are dating someone who might not have a lot of offer.
The desire to love someone to the end, the desire for shared passion, the desire to meet “The one” and feel fireworks set off is strong and hopeful enough to believe it could happen tonight. To the people who say “get over it and live your life” … screw you.
I want to fall in love and I am sorry what I want is seen as “weak” and “wrong.” Don’t shame my hunger, I was made for it. I just can’t tell you where I will end up finding it. Adam wasn’t satisfied in his perfect relationship with God before Eve, so chances are I’m not going to be either. (Thanks, Adam)
Think of the people in your life who close themselves off to romance because strength and independence are worth more. The people who have been hurt so bad that they don’t put themselves out there anymore. The people who cheapen the hunger for a hook~up or one night stand. The women or men who settle in love and get treated horribly…
THAT, my friends, is worse than the ache of romance you long for.
Romance seeks eternity and doesn’t settle for the cheap version.
So where do we turn?
“Amid the emotional ecstasy of falling in love, it can be easy to glorify our earthly love story over God’s eternal love story.” -A love letter life
We turn to romance Himself, Jesus. The being who is love, who is beauty, goodness, and truth. The truth of His being embodies intimacy, a deep and personal spirit that speaks; “you are mine, and I love you. Don’t believe me.. see how far I went to prove it.”
When I turn to Him in hope, the tables don’t flip and my lover comes, instead the hunger is satisfied and the ache brought to satisfaction because romance Himself nourishes me and takes me on that adventure I have which (like my ex’s proved) was about God and I the whole time. God wants us to cry out to Him. He runs to us. Our God hopes He’ll win you over enough that you might say it back to Him from the depths of your being.
Forget for a moment the direct call towards marriage (to the Christ Himself, or to a human spouse) and remember “Your vocation is madness. Haven’t you heard that cry deep within you sometimes? Answer that call and be grateful to God for the honor of being one of those “lunatics.” (St. Josemaria Escriva).
‘Cause romance makes fools of us, lunatics, sooner or later. Lunatics screaming in our bedrooms on a Friday night. Lunatics ranting about its unfairness to a friend for a long walk and still not sure what to think. Lunatics who replay memories again and again over the beauty of what past memories and old lovers unveiled. Lunatics who try to find the answer in starving themselves, taking drugs, or sleeping around. Lunatics who don’t sleep. Lunatics who chase back the old lover to re-ignite the flame. Lunatics who stalk other peoples socials until they can satisfy the void they feel without them. Lunatics who shutter at the first heartbeat of their loneliness. Lunatics who pound the makeup and dynamically shape the body. Lunatics who just want the peace and simplicity of love but think to find it by doing some things far from peaceful or simple.. making it insanely dramatic and excessive. Yup, we go mad over it.
The human heart can take us to depths we never knew existed. Is romance not the best hunger you feel? I pray to God you find it but until then don’t hide it.
You won’t starve forever,
A hungry heart
Picture owned by Disney. I own nothing.