Love is an amazing, beautiful thing. True love knows no limits and is not bound by time, space, or even death. Our Lord God is indeed true love, and I believe it is our goal on Earth to imitate Him in that way by always pursuing love in its highest and purest form.
We must give of ourselves and make the world a better place, at least for those we encounter and hopefully for that one special someone, if our vocation is marriage. We are charged to love with a holy love, an unconditional love -- one that will guide our spouse to holiness.
It is no wonder that we are all pursuing this kind of unifying love in some form, no matter what our vocation. And I pray that I may never cease being desperate for that kind of love, for it was out of a desperate love for us that Our Lord died on the cross for our sins. No wonder His greatest act of love was called the Passion! It is that burning desire to love and be loved that has the potential to bring about great and beautiful change on this planet, one person at a time.
So am I desperate for love? Absolutely! And quite joyfully, mind you! Even if I should be so lucky as to have the love of a man in marriage, I pray that I will always have that burning fire for love. Being desperate to love should not be perceived as a negative condition. Instead, it is a joyful capacity! :-)
My whole life I have pursued the grandeurs of love (as probably you have, dear reader) and none of us should ever stop, even if God should give us the grace of a spouse enjoined to us in lifelong marriage. We must never stop because the pursuit of love only reaches its climax when one has met God Himself. All the love we exchange on Earth here below merely points to the goodness that is yet to come!
These are the beliefs I hold close to my heart and carry with me. So perhaps you can understand why, dear reader, I have believed that money has had absolutely NO BEARING on the kind of love I desire to give and the kind of love I hope to receive.
At least this is what I have believed for many, many years.
And yet I have been receiving signs that are pointing to something else which totally puzzles me. And so I have considered it. If money has ANY connection to love, then it is only that both can be given and that the giving of money is a form of the donation of time, talent, and treasure to another person for their sustenance, well-being, and perhaps protection.
That is really the only connection between love and money that the eyes of my heart can see. Surely, we must not store up treasures here below when we can store up Heavenly treasures instead.
Yes, saving for the future is important, but I have no problem giving my money to those I love or even those that I do not, for having never met them (as in the case of donations to charity). In fact, the more money I earn, the more compelled my heart feels to sacrifice it. I try to remember that to whom God has given much, much is asked for in return.
My trouble, perhaps, lies in the reception of money. I have always idealistically separated the virtues of love from the economics of money in all of my relationships. After all, what is money but paper tenure? A living gesture is worth so much more than that which can be replaced, and so I will always offer to treat, meet him half-way, or at least put down the tip.
But, in the last few years, dear people that I respect and admire in my life have been asking me to look more closely perhaps not at the giving and receiving of money but at the gestures of love which can (or which cannot) surround it.
For years, I have resisted this "clinical" analysis for the precious IDEALS which I hold dearly in my heart; but today, I have finally decided that perhaps (at age 29) I am not such an expert on the reception of love after all. I can give (at least I think), but can I properly receive?
Is there really a relationship between the guy who always picks up the tab and the one who ends up being the husband that provides for his wife and family? I didn't think so, but I'm starting to think that maybe I'm wrong. Perhaps I feared to think that there was a correlation because I never wanted to judge a man's character based on what was in his wallet.
But here I am, 7 months before turning 30, and while I can say that I have loved richly in my life, with humility I must admit that I have not been loved like that in return (except by my God, my parents, and my wonderful family). And to attempt a correlation in my little life, I shall state that I have never dated a man who always insisted on picking up the check. I have MET generous men like that, but God never put into my heart the seed of love for them, and so a relationship would never sprout.
If I look back to the women who have gone before me, I can see that indeed there was a "providing" element for which they searched for in their men. I'm sure that my great-great-greatest grandmother must have sat expectingly in her little hut awaiting the delicious food that my great-great-greatest grandfather was bringing back from his afternoon hunt in the woods. That must have been a special kind of excitement for her -- to wonder what he would bring back for her and the children and when he would arrive!
To continue with the metaphor, I'm like the girl who loved her man so much that she wanted to ACCOMPANY him into the woods. Sure, she knew that she'd still have hours of work to prepare the meat for food later in the evening, but what could be more fun that experiencing the hunt along side her man, right?
But I guess the mistake she'd make in that scenario is that she is--to a degree--impeeding upon the vocation of the man. Of course she didn't do it with with the intent to harm him. In fact, she did it with just the opposite intention. She did it to make it easier on him or perhaps to make the whole experience more fun for both of them. But in doing so, she gave him less opportunity to strengthen and form his manhood through that challenge. If she can hunt, then he is less needed. And to feel needed is to feel loved.
I guess I have made the mistake of liking the hunter-gatherer guys in my life so much that I'll joyfully go with them on the hunt. But the backlash to that is that perhaps they have developed a sense of loss for their place in my life, which soon follows by the reality of just that.
"Why treat her to a meal," they must think, "If she can just as easily do it for herself?" Or, moreover, "Why strengthen my manhood by showing her my sacrifice of my time, talent, and treasure if she doesn't need me to do it for her because she's already got the resources?" Oh, what a sad thing for those men to think on an unconscious level! But indeed I have probably unconsciously caused them to think that in their unconscious. I simply must stop.
Maybe I am absolutely off the mark, but for the unforeseeable future, I am pledging to make myself the kind of patient woman who sits in her tepee eagerly awaiting whatever sort of sustenance her knight in shining armor brings back.
Yes, I shall make my apartment my tepee, and in it I shall sit. I think I shall quite literally sit here and wait for a nice guy who might come and pick me up out of it (quite literally with the arrival of his car). And then I pray that he shall show me a nice time and that I may be receptive to accepting his gestures of generosity, and that my happiness--at least in that form--shall be more dependent on HIM and less upon myself.
And while it may be awhile before such a thing happens (or that such things would happen infrequently due to the cost being incurred by only one party), the patience of my waiting (and the sacrifice of it not happening often) will make the experience something I shall appreciate even more so when it finally (and hopefully) DOES happen. And I shall joyfully spend the rest of my life returning his love a thousandfold. May his initial investment grow in me like the stock market of the 1990s! The math teacher in me promises to do more than just multiply; I shall be fruitful! :-)
Pray for me that I may have the gifts of patience and sacrifice...in a way that is only for women to have and which will not prevent a man's ability to demonstrate the same virtues!
Here it goes. Wish me luck.