Friday, June 8, 2012

Hopeless . . . But Not Without Hope

I'm one of those people who falls in to the "hopeless romantic" category.  I drink in the beauty of a single rose.  I daydream about happily ever after.  And I watch an excessive amount of chick flicks.  Yes, I can actually admit to that fact.  Fair warning: This post probably won't have very many deep, intelligent, philosophical points.  Mostly it's the fruit of frustration at my occasional (some days more than others) discontent with my current lot in life.  Coupled with the daydreaming dynamic, it's a dangerous combination depending on the day.  Now that we've cleared that up, I'd just like to say that I know my vision of the whole "happily ever after" in reality is skewed.  The romance of on screen couples has given me too many unrealistic examples.  (Not that I regret watching them.  Sometimes they're the perfect cure for a funk.  Or a good laugh.  Or smiles.)  But I know in reality that no relationship falls into place that easily.  You don't go from hating someone one day to loving them the next.  You don't suddenly wake up and realize you're in love with your best friend at the same time that they do.  And you definitely don't decide to marry someone after knowing them for only the better part of a week, or a weekend as the case may be.  It's nice to delude yourself every once in a while that such fantastical happy endings actually exist, but I've discovered that a delusion too often entered becomes a habit extremely hard to break.

I've had my share of broken hearts and shattered dreams.  Apparently it is possible to force your own heart to break when you fall hard for someone who doesn't share the attraction.  I don't recommend it.  Especially if you're of the same hopeless romantic type that I am.  It takes years to recover.  The only plus I can think of is the benefit of lessons learned.  You take better care of who you allow yourself to love after you experience what it's like to have it all end in vain.  Although then you run into another problem, i.e. the case of closing yourself off from all possibility of heartache.  It's my uneducated opinion that true love only comes at a high price.  You have to be willing to jump, but it's never a bad idea to give yourself a parachute just in case.

And what is true love anyways?  I know it involves self-sacrifice.  A willing of the good for the other person.  A relationship based on true friendship.  The only perfect example we have is God's love for us Who gave His only Son to save the soul of all mankind.  Given such an impeccable standard to follow, we can only hope to achieve as near a likeness as our fallen nature allows.  With the grace of God, of course, anything is possible.  I know true love exists in the human race.  I see it in the face of a parent when they see their child.  I see it in the glance of a husband at his wife.  I see it in the actions of friends and family who truly care.  I know I am so blessed to be surrounded by so much true love in my life.

But none of this rational knowledge makes waiting for the fairy tale any easier.  Neither does it help the emotional side realize that fairy tale happily ever afters like Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty don't actually exist.  At least not on a regular basis.  Maybe that's a bit cynical, but cynicism is one of the prices paid for dashed dreams.  Or maybe it's just realistic.  I mean, every girl dreams of waking up and finding her Prince Charming standing before her, but in reality that would be really creepy.

I know I can't explain this innate desire for the perfect storybook ending (or beginning).  I know that God has a plan for my life.  That He has a purpose for these deep emotions that bubble up constantly (although I've gotten really good at concealing them.)  So what do I do in the meantime?  I wait.  I listen.  I watch.  I try to be open and guarded at the same time.  I try to make friends without thinking further.  And I watch chick flicks as an outlet.  It's a comforting thought (regardless of how realistic such a thought may be) that the damsel in distress, in spite of her trials and sufferings (or maybe because of them), is always rescued in the end.  The kiss that breaks the magic spell.  The friend who becomes the dearest love.  The prince who banishes all the darkness.  The white knight who champions her in her distress.

And I wonder how I can have such feelings (for lack of a better world - darned English language) for someone I've never met.  I suppose they're just one way of God's telling me that I haven't erred in my vocational discernment.  I know, at some point (and only God knows when), I'll be walking down that aisle in a white dress towards my own happily ever after (with all the messy bits thrown in for good measure).  That one day I'll fulfill my call to marriage and motherhood.  I know I still have an enormous amount of growing to do as myself before I can even begin to think about dating someone, let alone marry them.  And I'm sure that they've got growing of their own to do.  So I remind myself of the rational explanations and succumb to the emotional lure of the fairy tale when rationality fails.

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