Another blog post about love and relationships
Updated: Oct 22, 2020
When Sara Bareilles wrote her hit song "Love Song" she said it was for her record label. The label asked her to write a love song and she laughed and said, "No, haha. We don't need another love song in the music world, let alone my album!"
Sara not only kick started her career with such angst, making it her number one hit, ever, but she rolls in deep with that song being one of my top 10 favorite songs of all time. She really felt the truth of her stance because her heart and soul are loud in the song. that beginning tho. The emotion of it is much more powerful than the lyrics.
Like Sara, none of me wanted to write a love article. Blank stares and blank pages are all I see when I attempt to write about Love. There are so many of these kinds of articles in the world and none of them really do justice. I mean how could you expect a mere article of 1,000 something words to fully express LOVE.
But I caved. So Sara Bareilles, you win. I'm gonna write them a love song.
And here you have it, another blog on the crazy chaotic mess of love and dating and romance. I figured there needs to be a break from COVID, the election, and fake news and since we all love love I'd contribute to society.
Today is the feast day of St. John Paul II - the holiest, most romantic man I've read content from - I will be writing this with him. If you don't want another love article go hang out with Sara Bareilles.
“Young people are always searching for the beauty in love; they want their love to be beautiful.” - St. Pope John Paul II
As a single millennial I am frustrated by the worlds definition of love. Nothing about it is beautiful anymore. From societal norms to have someone for the sake of having someone to secret intentions behind "love" there's nothing safeguarding it.
People are "too much" for wanting love and "too little" for not having it. And then there's the people who secretly crave to be single and those who thrive being single but refuse to be.
Nothing I am hearing, seeing, and participating in is "beautiful." people are exhausted because it’s hard to come by and hurt by its messiness.
yet all that said, I'm not a hopeless romantic, I'm a romantic who hopes because of love.
I fall and fall hard and because of that boundaries are GOOD for me.
It's no different than acknowledging, "hey I love cookies...but too many will cheapen the experience and make me a glutton." That's not a thing to mock, nor is it a thing to call "cute" it is a healthy response to a wonderful desire I value and appreciate about life (& clearly love is better than cookies).
At the young age of 18 I made a deal with myself and said, "instead of consuming the numerous love novels and movies of these highly emotional and "amazing" love stories I'm going to go out and create my own."
The first thing I did was stop watching chick-flicks and entertaining those emotional "flings" with guys I could reach out to for an emotional high. After that I just put myself out there (still do). I went to events in college and my parish. I went to events in the city and even talked to guys in the gym who most women would "get away!" from. Oh, and not that it makes a huge difference, I didn't do the online stuff.
In any case, when I thought a guy was cute I went over and talked to him. When I saw a guy looking at me I made sure he knew that I knew and spoke to him too. There were no grey areas and no fears. I just looked for "beauty" and if I didn't find it with someone I walked away knowing I spared myself. I could tell real quick if someone was "brother" status or "dating" material. I never tried to force feelings. I always had clarity and moved forward trying to smell beauty if I could. It's that simple.
This was the hard part.... I didn't know the journey to create my own beautiful love story was going to involve necessary personal time alone for self-growth. I didn't want to believe I had to work on myself I didn't think guys needed to work on themselves either, I guess I thought they were born with all the Grace I needed from them
I didn't realize it would be so hard to find someone who shares your beliefs and priorities I didn't realize there was a lot in my heart that I had to unpack; expectations, disappointments, family wounds, standards, and the secret intentions of others soending time with me (like when you like someone and they don't like you but just like the emotional comfort you give). #heavy
I thought the timeline was
“God is going to give me my future husband and THEN create a fabulous love story for us together that just floated on the big, fat, fluffy cloud of love and feelings. like beauty would just show up in the air!”
And for some people this is a reality but for me I can't help but wonder; WHERE aRe mY AnSweRS???????
So this John Paul II text, Theology of the Body, came my way. I am not even sure how but I opened it to read a pope saying;
"The body, and in fact only the body, is capable of making visible what is invisible; the spiritual and divine." and I thought
... “the body reveals the underlying intentions and thoughts in a persons heart.
Com'on... you know this. You can smell, you can tell, when a person is enamored with you or just wants to get with you. You can smell on someone if they are weary or distant from you or engaged and pursuing. You KNOW (cause God didn't make us idiots) when love is present or lust and infatuation take reign.” St. Pope John Paul II is not an idiot!! Someone is safeguarding love... FINALLY!!! safeguarding it where it rests, the heart.
The invitation we have when it comes to romance, love, and being lovers is that we can create the path of our experience with love by realizing the path starts within. We can, in all our spiritual and internal nature, make decisions and hold GOOD, truthful, & meaningful thoughts and sentiments toward love and BOOM... it will flow into our actions
(aka our bodies).
That's why I am a romantic, and not a hopeless one, because the decisions, thoughts, and sentiments I have are real. They aren't imaginary. They are directly related to seeking beautiful intentions towards love. To understand love and what you want out of it is to understand Who God is.
“Christian ethos is characterized by a transformation of the human person’s conscience and attitudes…such as to express and realize the value of the body and sex according to the Creator’s original plan” (JPII, TOB 45:3). “Prayer can progress as a genuine dialogue of love, to the point of rendering the person wholly possessed by the Divine Beloved, vibrating at the Spirit’s touch, resting filially on the Father’s heart. This is the lived experience of Christ’s promise…”
*PG-13 rating on that one.
I didn't know my decision to make a life of beautiful love would mean getting to know God up close and personal. But how could I understand Love if I didn’t know it’s source?
I didn't think He was the path I would take in deep love while being single (and really single at that).
Yet, I am in the most beautiful of loves I've ever been. Happier than what I thought a marriage could have offered me by now. Love is present moment to moment.
The ways I aim to eliminate anything that would reduce true love to fake, "cheapened" and "settled" love speak volumes to my body (heart, mind and soul). I think the reason I can soar in this pursuit of beautiful love and life is because there is no emotionally heavy infatuation, unhealthy possession of commitment, stress, or rushed investment hoarding space and time in my head and heart. I literally have the freedom to just BE authentically myself without someone running next to me. I don’t have to envision a wedding, I just have to grow and be myself and see who comes along.
I am not weighted down by any pressure for find love cause it’s actually in me and breathing through me. It’s in every prayer and every person. St. John Paul II had the most love (after Jesus) and didnt have a spouse! or kids!
I am receiving full and total love from God who is the ultimate Lover.
"For the birds own nothing---- that's the reason they can fly." Mary Oliver
Im not saying never have romantic love, I’m saying never have the heavy unloving things in your heart that aren’t beautiful. Like drama, use,hatred, and aiming for perfection.
cause I can have chats with my friends until 2 am about how "he did this" and "he said this" and "I feel this" but I would have been trying to solve and unsolvable math equation. I can choose to be on a dating app entertaining 10 conversations. I can decide, at any point, to make a move on a cutie. I can, if I really wanted to, ask someone on a date (why not?) Do I think; It's not really worth it? It's not desirable? I don't need it? Nope. Those choices would just feel forced and exhausting. and Love is neither of those things.
We really are "free" in a sense to "do what we want" but we are not free to change the truth that what we do is good or evil. Therefore love and building up love is really just a matter of choosing to have good, beautiful, and sincere intentions with yourself and others.
I know most of us CAN handle breakups. Most humans logically rationalize "it wouldn't have worked out" but what we can't handle is evil like; cheating, ignoring, being distant, non-commitment, being more invested than the other, finding out you were being used, and more.
"And God invited Adam to love; He never forced love on anyone because forced love is not love at all. Freedom is given to us from God FOR the sake of Love. It can lead to destruction and division, but it is intended to bestow life and create unity to people. It is our CHOICE." -JPII Commitment? It is a Beautiful choice. I think the saddest reality of love is that we want to safeguard it by NOT committing to love forever. Because we know human love will never be perfect we “safeguard” it by cheapening ourselves of tasting the full banquet. People live together without rings. Have kids without vows and act married when single and divorced when married.....
all the safeguard getting hurt.
Our prides are sneaky ego's. Because we know the person we love is going to fail us we want the satisfaction of saying (more than commitment) "well this is why I didn't fully commit! now I can move on easily!" But if we really are searching for the beauty in our love let us never forget how beautiful it is to suffer for the sake of love, for the one(s) we love.
Pope John Paul II had a love affair with the Church. That was His bride and it's members His family. He suffered so much for the sake of Love for God. What a life.
He didn't back out when things got tough, and always knew he was fighting for the beauty of God to be louder than the worlds unbelief in Him. He protected his life with the source of all love: God. Even on his fragile health days, when it was obvious he needed sleep and rest because of his old age, he responded, “Fortunately, I don’t run the Church with my feet or my hands, but with my mind!”
The crazy thing about love being understood physically, within the body, makes us all wonder why we haven't perfected it. Strong desires and attractions aren’t what is eternally lasting anymore. St. John Paul II could have called his work Theology of the Mind, but he called it Theology of the BODY.
hmm. How bout' it. 😉
All we do for the sake of love begins with you. Your mind, in thoughts, in what you want and believe love to be, and how God shows you the beauty of life and you’re personality. To think the mind has a small ability to grasp Love (something that is not of this world, but so far from it) is insane. And we are given a taste to a source of beauty we cannot see but know is real. (1 John 4:7)
True love is interior freedom. It is wholeness, chastity, integrity, goodwill, sacrifice, and more. All things we learn in life, through God.
That beauty comes by respecting our freedom in choices and actions, staying true to our desires, true to our God, and true to ourselves.
Happy Feast Day JP II - I love you lots and this article is a lemonade stand next to the kind of work you did for Jesus. I just smile at being able to see a picture of us next to each other.
Meet the Author:
Shannon Donnelly is an energetic family girl who loves the Lord. She serves ministry in Philly and works closely to young girls and Theology of the Body. Shannon writes, prays, reads, and gets her fitness on in her free time. She is the Director of More Goodness Now and has a podcast in the same name that you can listen to here: anchor.fm/moregoodness