Yesterday I received an email and at the end of the email the person said, "I would love to hear how your theology of love has been shifting and growing." In my response I began to write, without thinking about my answer before hand. I wanted it to be genuine, honest and the first initial thought. I have always thought those thoughts were the most honest of all. After responding to her email, I had to smile a bit. For a girl who has sworn she won't be in a relationship again until she gets her career off the ground, it made my heart ache, in a good way, to see that I still believed in the magic of it all. Even if I didn't have love texting me every morning or brushing my hand during dinner every night.
My theology of love? That question is a toughie, but a goodie.
When it comes to love I want it to be the biggest shape shifter in my life. I use to be so terrified of the fact that I would fall on my face in love with a stranger who just simply smiled at me, but I am not anymore. At twenty one years old, I can honestly say that I have been properly in love twice. Did they work out? Of course not. Where they the simple definition of love that fit into a pretty little box? Gosh, I am glad they didn’t. But despite the heartache that came from them, I am so lucky to have been in love properly twice. Some people don’t get that chance in life.
When it comes to love in general, oh well I think it is a beautiful thing, trickier than parlor tricks but more magical than being the first man to land on the moon. It sounds like the love you aren’t experiencing doesn’t fit into a pretty, tiny box either. And that is okay. This past summer, I fell in love with two men in Cambodia. One spoke some English, the other didn’t speak English at all; but for all of the right reasons it didn’t matter. The way we interacted on a daily basis was more than what words could convey as genuine respect, care and likeness of each other. Every day we would go take jungle walks, to make sure there weren’t any loggers and poachers. When we would come across piles of knocked down trees that were rather challenging to jump over, he would just pick me up in his arms and carry me across. Imagine Disney in a third world country and that is what I had. He would sleep outside of hut in a hammock every night, and when I would try to sneak away on a run without military personnel running without me, he always ended up making sure I had two armed soldiers with me at all times.
Was it proper? No.
Was it magical? Yes.
I remember a few weeks ago someone asked me if I thought relationships were hard. Maybe I was too confident when I said no, but I truly don’t think relationships are hard. At the very core of it, relationships are showing up for people when they need you most.
And love, love is all of that with a little pixie dust.
Recently I was seeing this guy. From the very beginning we were honest and said that we didn’t want a relationship, we just aren’t at that point in our lives, and that is fine. I wish we would accept that truth a bit more in our society. That sometimes, we just aren’t ready to be there for each other in the respects of a relationship but that doesn’t mean we can’t still enjoy each other’s company, care for one another and laugh in bed together after we have run out of Jimmy Fallon reruns.
I realized today that with him, I wanted to bring him breakfast in bed with balloons kissing the ceiling and sunflowers more vibrant than the sun that was peeking through the blinds. Why? Not because I was in love with him, but because I loved him as a human. He is gentle and kind. Generous and sincere. And although I can’t say I am in love with him, I want to celebrate him being here, being the person who he is with me effortlessly when we are together.
So maybe that is what love is, celebrating people at their rawest, most sincere state and forgiving them when they stumble.
You want to know how my theology of love has been shifting and growing-
I guess today I would say that love is more than a pretty, small box. It deserves to be more than that. I don’t want to paint this unrealistic picture of it, because yes even the greatest love stories can be messy and confusing. I think that it has to be magnetic and electrifying. And in order for it to be proper it has to be selfless. It has to be worth celebrating every single day. It is kind and it is understanding.
I think that love is in bumping into a stranger at a grocery store when you are frantic and it is spending a Saturday night watching a Netflix marathon as the snow falls.
If I am being honest, I wouldn’t say that I am a martyr of love. And maybe I don’t know much about love at all. But I do know that love shouldn’t come knocking at your door with conditions. Instead it should be the breeze that takes your breath away and the sunlight that makes you want to dance in grass, even if it is dead from winter.