How did you express your love to the ones you feel close to on Valentine’s Day? Did you plan something special, hoping this gesture will be received well?
Valentine’s Day means a lot to those who have fallen in love just recently and to those who want to do some business between Christmas and Easter. On the other hand, we come to realize it is not that easy to find someone out there. The jungle is full of seeking souls who are deterred from making a commitment because of that ever present question: What if it doesn’t work? What if he/she finds someone better?
Sophie sent me this article by Ankush Bahuguna who seems to nail the problem of his generation on the head in his article leaving quite a bitter aftertaste. Is this picture of us really true?
First of all we are creatures of hope, but hope is different for every individual in every culture and every social background. For those hoping, it can be a certainty in case you believe in the things promised to you and it can be quite uncertain for those who mix their hopes with expectations and ambitions. Ankush says that no one wants to be bored, scared of this thought how we did overall, when we look back on our lives. We strive to be content with our choices and their consequences and we want it all but not in a traditional fashion. We want it to be extraordinary, setting us apart from all those before us. I spoke to a psychologist about convicts, men who got caught up in a criminal lifestyle and who had to face years of their young lives behind bars and all they want is to lead a quiet life, to have a family and kids. But something happened and all is beyond reach. Advertisements seem to have one repetitive, recurring line: You deserve it, it will make you happy! To be honest, I think we have reached a level of discontentment rooted in our hopes and ambitions that keeps us so empty. Never before were our choices so many. Never before did we nurture such a fixation on happiness. Wallace Stevens made the point: "But in contentment I still feel the need for imperishable bliss."
Ok, here is a little allegory:
Two men are offered the exact same job, one gets paid 10.000$ a year the other one million $. Both sign the contract without knowing of each other’s salary. One fine day at lunchtime they sit together chatting and one says: “Quite a boring job, isn’t it? I find it tedious!”
“Not at all”, says the other one, “I find it all right.” Which one do you think earns the one million? Our hopes define how we handle the present.
Cynthia Heimel, who is not a Christian, said: If God wanted to play a good trick on you, he would grant you your wishes and fulfill your dreams and laugh at you when you got there.
Why? Because at that point of fulfillment, we must realize that we are left empty and "unfulfilled". 'If I just get that job, marry and have kids, if I just take this trip then I will be happy.' We are told that we need to discover ourselves, belong to someone and achieve that next thing, we will be content. Yet how many had to discover that there is absolutely nothing at the peak, there is nothing we find there that grants us lasting happiness. “It” was not there! Deep inside we have these feelings and desires that we don’t understand yet they seem to be unsatisfied. If you now think this is not the case with you and you will be able to handle it, I can tell you, well, it will not be different with you! On the top of that mountain of success, that hope fulfilled, there is another hope rising or worse, nothing.
We still believe that “it” can be found in things such as money, relationships, success, career, recognition, a house. Why not? We tell ourselves we will be happy later in life, never loosing hope in this future bliss or we become bitter, detached and worldy-wise. Next thing you know is that cynicism creeps in.
I have been married for 22 years and most of our friends are still married and raised their children together. I asked them if their kids were seeing someone? Most of them said: “Not at the moment.”
So is it true what Ankush says?
It’s not love we’re looking for, only excitement and thrill in life. We want someone to watch movies and party with, not someone who understands us even in our deepest silences. We spend time together, we don’t make memories. We don’t want the boring life. We don’t want a partner for life, just someone who can make us feel alive right now, this very instant. When the excitement fades, we discover nobody ever prepared us for the mundane. We don’t believe in the beauty of predictability because we’re too blinded by the thrill of adventure.
We immerse ourselves in the inconsequential of the city life, leaving no space for love. We don’t have time to love, we don’t have the patience to deal with relationships. We’re busy people chasing materialistic dreams and there’s no scope to love. Relationships are nothing more than convenience.
We look for instant gratification in everything we do – the things we post online, the careers we choose, and the people we fall in love with. We want the maturity in a relationship that comes with time, the emotional connect that develops over years, that sense of belonging when we barely even know the other person. Apparently, nothing’s worth our time and patience – not even love.
I thought about this and here is what I come up with: Love is not about me!
There is an existing order but we have actuallyreversed it.
Looking at the lives of those who struggle with hopes, culturally and psychologically, one can see that taking the source of love, that is God, out of your life, your career, your relationships, you will find yourself stranded on the shores of emptiness and discover that all your hopes are an illusion. If we aim at happiness and bliss but overrule the order set up by God, we are struggling fools. If we love our spouse first not second we will crush him/her with our expectations and our demands. God on the other hand invites us to a relationship where he can teach us that we are already loved unconditionally! If God is our first love, our hopes become certainties and the order of our priorities can heal all our other ambitions and expectations. Accept that He is sharing His abundant love with us so we are able to share meaningful love in our relationships. Just imagine you find someone who you can love freely. They do not have to live up to your unrealizable expectations. The beauty of such a relationship is refreshing. Love can flourish and reinvent itself, kindness and care are its natural language! To pray for each other heals the past and brightens the future.
Ankush says that this generation has forgotten how to love. I think we have forgotten how to “repair” our souls regardless of our circumstances. Our souls need “healing”, we need to accept that God is the one able to heal and to restore us. His word is alive the moment we read it we will agree to its beauty. This is called spirit repair contrary to the ver growing discontentment and our permanent longing to fitting in.There is constant brainwashing from the outside. If we cared more about our choices what truly matters, there would be room for fresh air. This fresh air is found alone in God’s presence. I am looking forward to hearing from you about your experiences and what you think about love and hope.