This might sound silly, but I'm trying to learn more about the art of courting while observing the mating rituals of my doves.
It is apparent that they love each other SO MUCH because they are so affectionate with one another. And being that I am around them all the time, I cannot help but observe their behavior and hope to learn from it.
I have yet to find out how they actually FOUND each other in this great big world, but I suppose that will remain a mystery to me since they can't tell me in English.
So instead I am trying to at least learn what they do to keep one another interested...to keep the spice in their relationship...to keep the exchange of love between them constant...to keep alive that life-long pledge of fidelity that doves must surely make since they are a bird species known for their monogamous commitment.
When I see them exchange affections, I smile. This lesson comes easily to me: love and be loved. It is precious to see Innocent relax and close his eyes as his wife Pure nuzzles her beak into the back of his neck.
They even play games with one another, nibbling at each other's toes or chasing each other on the floor, always laughing hysterically together in unison when the activity is particularly funny to them.
But sometimes I observe behavior that I can't quite understand. It happened atop a shelf in my bathroom Thursday night while I was brushing my teeth. Innocent was puffing up his neck again and was standing on his tippy-toes in an effort to look as tall and as masculine as he could.
He would sing to Pure, making this beautiful cooing nose, bowing periodically as he approached her. But she would pretend to be totally unaffected and not even notice him. In fact, she would pretend to be totally focused on nibbling imaginary seeds. Can you believe that?!
But, as soon as he would turn away in dejection, she would immediately turn around and watch him with this sense of longing in her eyes, wishing that he would continue to pursue her. Sometimes she'd even walk after him, trying to catch is attention again. But, as soon as he would start wooing her again, she'd be back to eating those imaginary seeds. Goodness, why, Pure, why?!
This seems to be the pattern, then: Innocent pursues Pure; Pure pretends to be unaffected. Innocent works harder to win her affections; Pure tries harder to make it more difficult for him.
This game seems horribly cold to me, but at the end of the day, it must work for them. They snuggle up together at night, knowing, I guess, that the same game will continue tomorrow. And every once in a while, the game results in intercourse between them (although their inexperience makes things a bit wobbly, and sometimes they fall over each other in the process). How cute!
What is the lesson I can learn from all this? That I must be more aloof? Should I not love so easily? Should I hide my real feelings sometimes and focus on picking up those metaphoric, imaginary seeds? :-(
But just as I considered toning down the amount of love that I export, I had a revealing conversation last night with a friend. He admitted to me last night that he has only really liked 4 girls, and his attraction to each one had been connected to specific virtues.
He was attracted to Girl #1 for her Friendliness and Honesty, which manifested itself in her "earthiness" and Kindness which allowed him to feel Compassion and Comfort whenever he was around her.
Girl #2 attracted him with her Vitality for life. She was on fire for life itself, and that Passion drew him toward her, wanting more!
Girl #3 attracted him with her Integrity. She was rock-solid with her values, a veritable pillar of moral strength on which he could count.
Girl #4, he explained, was me, and I attracted him with my Heart, for the way in which I Love was something that he suggested he had not seen before. What an honor it was to hear that he liked the way I loved with my heart! But this honor is not for me because that glory goes only to the God who made me!
But, more striking than all of those girls' virtues, is the fact that this man is indeed drawn to women for the purest of intentions. It is for this reason that I am so honored to be flattered by him, not for what he says about me but for what it reveals about HIM.
To strike a balance among all this, I suppose I shall continue to love completely (in the way that I am capable of) but I will periodically pause to nibble on imagery seeds, lest I plow someone over with the love I'm capable of producing. :-)