Even as I write, I fantisize about becoming a world-renown author, and I imagine people lining up and camping overnight in the rain and then stampeding and scrambling into the store to buy my new book. I picture people coming up to me at the grocery store with tears streaming down their faces, saying that my book turned their lives around. And then I could go into hiding and move to Australia for a while and write another book that would save the world. And then other world-renown authors would quote me for the next 100 years. I don't care about fame, I just like to dream. Anyway, love is hard on romantics. It makes us hallucinate, hoping for the best and seeing things that aren't there, but eventually the fever breaks and then there is a part of us that wishes we were still hallucinating, even if it wasn't real.
But I still see glints of hope in the Bible. I like the story about Isaac and Rebekah meeting for the first time. It appeared to be love at first sight, with God as the matchmaker. It says that Isaac loved Rebekah.The Hebrew word for that kind of love is ahab aheb, which means to have affection for. It was more than just a responsible decision, more than a good arrangement, Isaac actually felt something. Another love story involves Jacob and Rachel. Again, it says that Jacob loved Rachel, same Hebrew word for love--ahab aheb (pronounced "hubba hubba"). And apparently, he had so much affection for her that he worked for 14 years to get her. Isaac and Jacob seem like the patriarchs of romance. The original lovesick souls.
I've also been stewing over the verse in Song of Solomon that says "Do not awaken love until it pleases." This is a curious phrase that implies that we do have a choice when it comes to falling in love. But the phrase "until it pleases" seems to imply that there is an aspect of love that has a will of its own once we choose to animate it. There are sides to love that are within our control and parts of it that are beyond us. Some of it is manageable and the rest of it is as mystical and bizarre as the Trinity itself. And then there is the allusion to timing in this verse. Timing is key. It warns us to wait until the right time to fall in love.
Anyway, being a romantic feels like you're craving a kind of food that you can't seem to find, nothing tastes right, nothing hits the spot. Or you feel like the guy in I Am Legend, a lone warm-blooded human in a world full of flesh-eating zombies. The truth is, I've never been married but I miss my wife. I've missed her for quite awhile now. I hope she misses me. Someday, I want to give myself to her without holding anything back, and I want it to be mutual. I was just reading about the woman who poured all of her expensive perfume onto Jesus's feet. And then she wiped his feet with her hair. She withheld nothing, even to the point of looking foolish. It was so undignified and unraveled. I want to love someone like that. Extravagantly, recklessly, wastefully. I don't want it to be like a poker game anymore, with all the bluffing and gambling, holding and folding. No more charades. I want all the cards to be laid face up on the table, so we can both see that neither one of us have a very good hand, but that it doesn't matter because winning isn't really the point. There's no competition, the point is just being together.
It all seems very possible. Then again, maybe not. After all, I am sick in the heart. Indeed, there is a high cost to being a romantic. It's kind of like being a Christian. There is a high cost to being a follower of Jesus. But the cost of not following Jesus is much higher. So maybe I will string along the romantic for a little while longer. And I will try to convince him that it will be worth it in the end and that he is not the only lovesick soul out there.