Love Is Different

Well, it looks like five thousand miles broke the camel’s back
But it’s not as though I had a plan to win you back
Because I don’t know what I want
But at least I know that much

Now I’m afraid love came right up
And it slapped me in the face,
But I did not know

‘Cause love is different than you’d think
It’s never in a song or on a TV screen
And love is harder than a word
Said at the right time and everything’s alright
Love is different than you think

Apparently Caedmon’s Call is hitting home with me this week because they’re already making a second appearance on this blog. This song was playing as I pulled into the office parking lot this morning. I only needed the first few lines to be sung before I turned off the ignition, then I continued the singing in my head. Conversations with friends throughout this week, hardships I see people enduring, encounters I’m unsure how to analyze, wishfulness about someone, this song, and even my very disconcerting dream last night – it all has me pondering love. Yes, I do mean romantic love. Although that’s such a weak term for it, wouldn’t you say? Romance… it’s a sliver of the reality for which every person with a vocation to marriage longs… for which I long. My thoughts this week on the matter aren’t about the romance. They’re about the companionship. Side by side, hand in hand, encountering life together; I have so much to learn about selflessness, so much to practice. There is a daunting level of vulnerability involved when you commit yourself to loving another person, as well as allowing another to commit themselves to loving you. This is never more true than in the sort of relationship that’s on my mind. It’s a risky undertaking.

I have to laugh at the complexity of what ought to be simple. I have to laugh or else the anxiety over it happening could get the better of me. All at precisely the same time, God’s actions must be bringing the two of you together, you must be open and willing to make the encounter with that person and follow it into the unknown, and the other person must do likewise. Then there’s the matter of whether or not both of you won’t flee from the call on your heart to love that other person and offer yourselves to the other. It’s a good thing God stays involved. Grace and providence aren’t subsidiary factors here; they’re the essence of the ‘how’ when it comes to love. And therein lies the reassurance, right? I can’t do it on my own; I can’t make it happen or force it into existence. The sort of love I hope to have and hope to give, as the Lord so aptly put it, “For human beings this is impossible, but for God all things are possible.” (Matt 19:26)

The band got it right, I’m sure. Love is going to be different than I think. God willing, I’ll have the chance to find that out firsthand.

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