From the time we are little girls, we are taught of Prince Charming. We play not just with Barbie, but with Barbie and Ken. We watch Disney shows where even the youngest daydream of love and a future with someone special. In my elementary school, dating and kisses in the playground were common scandals. Is it any wonder then that we imagine such a relationship as the ultimate? And though we are protected by a culture which attempts to instill patience and distance, we are surrounded by the reality of society every day.
We fall so easily into this trap. Perhaps it’s because in every heart, there is a longing for a Prince. But we get the grooms confused, because He is decidedly not Prince Charming. His love is not sentimental, it is divine. It neither wavers nor fades. He chooses us, singles us out, pursues us, and He loves us. And He is the only one who can satisfy our desire for unconditional love and eternal companionship. (Even in marriage, isn’t this idea key?)
Even with two years behind me, sometimes it’s tough to be in college. It’s a strange dichotomy between being surrounded by people–to the point where you almost never have any privacy–to being so often separate and alone. I mentioned this to Abouna, and he suggested (as usual!) a book, this one about the love and companionship of Christ. (The fact that my wonderful Abouna gives me books without us having ever discussed my love for them is further proof of his prophetic tendencies.)
The woman who writes speaks of being afire with longing for Christ, of a burning desire to be nearer to Him… and all I could think was… What’s the matter with me? Why don’t I feel that?
And then I thought… wait a second. Maybe I do. Maybe my longing for companionship is a longing for Christ.
It was kind of a Moment, you know? A chilling realization that I who have known of Christ since 80 days after my birth, I who serve in the church, I who pray and fast and try so hard to do all the right things… I missed the mark. I got the grooms confused.
The late Pope Shenouda once said “Do not despair if you do not feel that you love God. Have comfort in knowing that He loves you and with His love He can make you love Him. ”
Don’t we say “We love Him because He first loved us”? And so we must seek this love. Like the father who said “I believe! Help my unbelief!” we are called to follow this inkling that maybe, just maybe, the love Christ offers is greater than any and everything. Not just greater than money, not just greater than success, His love is greater than family, present or future, greater than our health, our happiness, and even our life.
And so we leave it all behind, to chase this inkling of a thought: God is “sheer joy and utmost delight; He is altogether lovely.”