Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Beneath Your Beautiful

Ladies and gents, I want to apologize for my recent hiatus. I've been experiencing some big changes professionally and personally and I am just now getting back into a rhythm. Hopefully these insights can help you to forgive me :)

My brother has been a huge inspiration to my taste in music. He finds random songs I would like that seem to fit a variety of occasions, themes, moods, etc. He has a pretty good idea of my taste, and when he passes me a song I usually end up exploring similar songs and artists and give my music library a fresh feel. Recently he showed me this song, and in an effort to hear it again I just looked it up on Youtube. I found the video moving... and of course it got me thinking about my favorite theme throughout this blog: love and vulnerability.

The rest of this post will make a lot more sense if you listen to the chorus at the very least.

The song made me think of an article I read recently about marriage, found here (seriously, read it. I might repost it later for all of you lazy people who just don't want to click on another link or read a lot more words). The connection I saw was that love is about more than happily ever after. Love is real, love is honest, love is blunt, love is raw. At its deepest, it is two persons encountering each other in entirety, including scars & fresh wounds, emotions, fears, shortcomings, bad habits, and obstacles that seem like they'll never be overcome.

But what is love when it is not real? When it does not reach the core? It has no connection, no bond, it is not built on sacrifice for the sake of the other, it is driven by passion and emotion, it is photoshopped as it masks imperfections for the sake of pride, selfishness, and the fear of being alone.

NOTE: Yes, that does sound a little extreme, and yes, there are exceptions, as John Paul II, C.S. Lewis, Socrates, Kierkegaard, and many other philosophers and theologians have so beautifully articulated. The love that I am referring to in this post is most simply put as love in relationship. I am using the context of dating/marriage, but it also very much applies to deep friendships.

The point that I am trying to make here is not a new one:
"Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails." 1 Corinthians 13:7-8
Loving with this intensity does reap rewards. When people love selflessly, they "get back" love 10 fold... the satisfaction of giving. It's one of the wonderful things that help motivate us to service, both in our personal relationships and in our communities. And it has a contagious, pay-it-forward effect. As wonderfully put in the example from the blog I linked above (read it), when people feel genuinely appreciated, they are more apt to honestly appreciate and encourage you to be the best-version-of-yourself. It is beautiful, awe-inspiring, and almost majestically mysterious.

Don't get me wrong, I am not trying to sugarcoat anything. I want to challenge you, my dear friends, to love vulnerably, to let yourself get to a point where you can feel pain. In the above Scripture passage, St. Paul goes on to say:

"When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I gave up childish ways." 1 Corinthians 13:11

This love takes maturity. It means no games, no hanging up on someone just to draw out the drama, no gossip, no snapping back as a reaction, especially when you both know you're in the wrong. No beating around the bush, no pushing someone away for the sake of saving yourself the risk of heartache when they have every intention of showing you genuine appreciation. Give up childish ways. We can still dream of happily ever after, but iconic fairy tale stories end with a lavish wedding and riding off into the sunset.

Newsflash: your life together doesn't begin when you hit the horizon or come back home from the honeymoon. Your life with the ones you hold near and dear began the day you started being real with them, and them with you. Sure, there might be sunshine and lollipops and rainbows and gummy bears in your future, but don't miss one minute of loving someone wholly today because you don't know what tomorrow will be. Get dressed up for dates and don't be afraid of fake-it-til-you-make-it confidence if need me, but in order to live fully, we absolutely must let others see beneath the beautiful at least once in a while.

*This blog was intended for single women forging their way through their young adult years trying to figure out what the what is going on with their lives, and ladies, I am thinking of you as well as I write this, not just those in relationships. Walls keep us from love in all aspects of our lives, including loving God, our families, our friends, potential suitors, and ourselves. Don't hold back. You've got this. :)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

“Falling in love, being an emotion, is not eternal. The emotion of love must be purified. It must undertake a journey of discernment in which the mind and the will also come into play. … In the rite of Marriage the Church does not ask whether you are in love but whether you want, whether you are resolved. In other words, falling in love must become true love; it must involve the will and the mind in a journey (which is the period of engagement) of purification, of greater profundity so that it is truly all of man, with all his capacities, with the discernment of reason and the force of will, who says: ‘Yes, this is my life’”. -Papa Benedict XVI