No seriously, how do I love another human being?
This has been the hot button issue around the office of late, facilitating deep and heated conversations around the lunch hour which more than occasionally spill over into happy hour...
What does it mean to love someone? And what should love look like, properly executed?
Our modern sensibilities and a steady upbringing of Disney animated classics render an exciting version of romantic love, complete with scored musical numbers and great clothes.
But real love, the good stuff that keeps marriages going strong 50 + years, this appears to be made of something else. Something sweeter but laced with a bitter tang of suffering.
A guy in his late twenties, married for a couple of years and father to a couple of kids, made somewhat of an astonishing statement yesterday, entering late into the conversation.
"Marriage isn't about being happy. It isn't fulfilling - it's emptying. That's the point, you're pouring everything out into your spouse, and you're doing it without expecting anything in return."
He said this quite matter-of-factly, finishing the last of his soda and casually tossing it in the trash. he wandered back out of the conversation a few minutes later, but the impact resonated through the rest of our discussion. In a few succinct words, this young husband and father had summed up the crux of theology of the body, and infused some reality into all our hypothesizing and philosophizing.
It doesn't sound all that difficult... until you realize that it's actually impossible, without God's grace. And utterly contrary to everything our culture teaches about romantic love and its unique ability to satisfy and ultimately fulfill.
I wonder how many marriages could be rescued from - or before - the brink of disaster by applying his recipe for domestic bliss: Pour yourself out. Don't expect anything in return. Repeat as often as necessary.
I think he nailed it. In all his masculine simplicity, (translation: bluntness) he communicated the heart of John Paul II's treatise on human love and life. And he was able to speak it because he was living it... which is totally hot.