Single-Minded Thoughts About Love
Well, I could have picked a less alarming topic to end my short bout of blogging hibernation, but this has been on my mind of late. "This" refers to the motif of love, coupled with the context of singleness. Don't worry, I'm not going to rant about how I kissed singleness hello, nor am I going to whine my own rendition of Sister Hazel's "If she's out there..." My goal is to be theologically and emotionally honest.
Singles in my walk of life--having just left college and entering a world w/ alot of uncertainties--often desire "someone else" for the sake of security or support. Many of my friends are in this position, and can at times even grasp for dating, coupling up, or what have you as a panacea to all problems relating to uncertainty, unresolved emotions, life-planning, and even Friday night boredom.
Overall, I thinks there's a certain yearning here that is good. But to assume these desires stop short at a beautiful woman or a marriage-able guy is short-sighted. We are deeper creatures than that.
In "The Weight of Glory" C.S. uses the German word siensucht
to term this idea of deep yearning; he furthermore warns of such short-sightedness: these good, earthly things we desire (call it beauty if you want) "if they are mistaken for the thing itself, they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of the their worshippers. For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited."
Lately, I've been attempting a strange experiment. I will be listening to a love song and try to imagine that the lyrics, rather than being written by one human to another, are an expression of love from God to me--in very "real" terms. This exercise can have obvious pit-falls, but seriously take the idea for what it's worth. That we laugh at such a notion is a symptom of a common problem in the way many single Christians see themselves and God. We tend to discount the biblical metaphor of Christ and his bride and forget that the "beauty" of Christ is not some theological abstraction, but something very real that should capture our hearts in a very emotional, "pitter-patter" kind of way.
The metaphysical poet John Donne seemed to agree. His "Holy Sonnets" were scrutinized in his day because they wielded very earthy language in prayers and praises to God. "Batter my heart three-personed God." The sonnet itself is a poetical form divined for lovers. It seems that Donne, too, realized that human love and earthly emotional yearning is but a shadow of a deeper relationship.
Being single is not usually the carpe-diem joy ride that some Christian authors try to pitch it as. Yet, I want to propose that being single does offer an opportunity to single-mindedly fall deeper in love with Christ--not in a theological, abstract sense, but in a very real and emotional sense. It is a time to ground one's well of emotions deeper into the true source of purity and beauty. source of purity and beauty. And if the time comes when we are captured by an earthly beauty, knowing and loving the ultimate Source will make the moment all the more true.