Psalm: 37:19-42
Gospel: Luke 22:1-13
Patristic Reading: Excerpt from a sermon on love by Peter Chrysologus

So here’s the thing…….I feel like I’m hijacking tonight’s post and taking away from the readings…..but the sermon from Peter Chrysologus hit a nerve….and I feel compelled to write about it…..Don’t worry it has a spiritual element to it ;)…hopefully those of you who read this blog (which I am entirely grateful for btw :D) will get something out of this reflection.

In his thoughts about love for God, Chrysologus writes:

the law of love is not concerned with what will be, what ought to be, what can be. Love does not reflect; it is unreasonable and knows no moderation. Love refuses to be consoled when its goal proves impossible, despises all hindrances to the attainment of its object. Love destroys the lover if he cannot obtain what he loves; love follows its own promptings, and does not think of right and wrong. Love inflames desire which impels it toward things that are forbidden.

I know he is talking about ecstatic love for the Divine here…..but I think this quote is reflective of all forms of love; not just the spiritual kind.

A few months back, I fell very hard for a barista at my local Starbucks. True….it was not “love” in the real sense–since real love is reciprocal– and I had only known her for about six months. But all the hallmarks of love described above were there.

I quite literally lost all common sense :S. Given my shyness and the power dynamic of her being behind the counter and me being the customer, I felt really intimidated to ask her out. It drove me crazy that I was consumed with this one issue…it was all I could think about.

She is/was significantly younger than myself and I knew the chances of her saying yes were slim-to-none….especially given our limited interaction.

When I finally did ask her out (in a very chicken-shit way I might add :P) it was at the wrong time. She went on vacation afterwards, leaving a very open-ended situation to sit for three weeks.

It was total /FAIL on my part, and those who are my closer friends or are on my Facebook list know some of the smaller details….and that it did not end well AT ALL. 😦

I know what you may be thinking….that it was puppy love. I suppose on some level it was. But for those who know me personally, you know that it takes a lot for me a) to be attracted to someone that heavily and b) it’s even rarer for me to act on those feelings.

When I decide that I like someone of the opposite-sex, it isn’t a full-on love at first sight kind of deal. It’s more I want to enter into a genuine relationship with them. One that is more of the more…ummmm…… intimate type rather than strictly friendship.

Problem is, I’m so enamoured and flustered by their good looks that I often babble like about nothing and come off looking like a totally neurotic and obsessive idiot. It’s just a bad combination all around :S.

Anyway suffice it to say, when this girl said “no” I was rather crushed; even though I knew logically that I had no right to expect anything different.

It’s still a little raw…but something very valuable came out of that whole experience for me…. I learned that I was loving the wrong thing, and looking for it in the wrong place….Let me see if I can explain this cogently.

I “loved” her not for who she was …but for who I wanted her to be. I wasn’t loving her as a person…as a child of God…but for the personal needs and wants that I hoped–perhaps–in time, she would fulfill.

More than that, her “rejection” (completely valid and justified btw) hurt me not only because my hope was vanquished, but because the situation has been a repeat pattern in my life. I have always wanted to be loved by another human being.

Don’t get me wrong….I know I am loved by God….but if I am honest with myself– truly honest sometimes that doesn’t feel like enough 😦

And that’s when I finally got down to the root of the problem. Sometimes I don’t feel loved by God. I say this not to throw a pity-party for myself…only to recognize a human reality.

We cannot feel fulfilled all the time. There will be times when we feel disappointed and empty. It is those times when we must truly ask ourselves: are we seeking to love God? or are we seeking merely to have our own needs met???

When we love God…the romantic/intimate aspects of a relationship aren’t the things that matter……

in fact, when God is priority #1 on our list, the other relationships in our lives have a good chance of improving and flourishing. Not all the time, but most times :D…

That’s when I realized the complexity of my situation. I wanted a barista to like me more than I wanted God himself to love me.

Once I realized that….things began to change. I began to realize that my priorities were screwed up. That I was seeking comfort and approval from the wrong source.

It is wonderful and life-giving to be desired and loved by another human being…..but without feeling that same love and desire from God….there is no way that any other relationship is going to develop, let alone be healthy.

With that in mind, I have tried to be more intentional about putting God first in my life…not simply out of piety, but out of a real sense that He needs to come first.

It’s only in working on the relationship with my Creator, Reedemer, and Sanctifier that I will understand what it means to truly love…and to hopefully….someday…..share that love with another person…. Here endeth the therapy session 😀 +

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