Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The End of Love


Dance Me to the End of Love
Jack Vettriano

Saturday night we watched, "The Lake House." Every once in a while, I enjoy a good romance film (and I make someone else enjoy it with me). For a modern romance, this one wasn't too bad. The story of a young woman and a young man separated two years in time, but somehow able to communicate--and fall in love--through messages left in a mailbox at a house on a lake. Interesting enough. Acted well enough. Perfectly innocent. Not bad on the whole.

The surprising thing was my own reaction. I think I'm finally losing my taste for these films. It isn't that I don't like romance anymore. I do. I like it as much as I ever have. I relish a well told story about the conflict and compatibility of man and woman. I love to watch young lovers overcome great odds to be with one another. I love to see the lengths to which they will go for each other and the crazy things they will do. I love the elements of stolen moments, heartfelt proclamations, sweet embraces. I enjoy all these things, but from a new perspective.

After ten years of marriage and five children, we don't go ice skating alone hand-in-hand all that often anymore. It isn't every night I find myself in a glittery gold dress holding a glass of champagne in a white-gloved hand. And the barefoot midnight strolls on a beach are, well, non-existent. Oh, I still get the occasional flowers and chocolate and an evening out from time to time, but this is not really what I consider the most romantic part of marriage.

I believe the most romantic part of marriage is found in the day in and day out of ordinary life. Elinor Glyn once said, "Romance is the glamour that transforms the dust of everyday life into a golden haze." While I don't like Elinor Glyn or anything she worked for, I do see truth in this statement and would only change it to say, "Romance is the love that transforms the dust of everyday life into a golden haze." Glamour is flashy and bright, attention-grabbing, and self-focused. It may create illusion, but it is much too superficial to actually "transform" anything. Love, however, love can be so much more than that-- and it has the power to transform.

In marriage-- the overcoming of great odds, the conflict and compatibility, the crazy things we do, the stolen moments (any moment alone in this house I consider stolen), the heartfelt proclamations--they are all there, just without the glamour. And there is another difference too, they aren't about just me and him anymore. They are about us-- all seven of us.

God has designed family life very wisely. Marriage and children slowly train the will to move our love out of ourselves and focus it on others. And the longer I am in this school of love, the more I learn to appreciate its romance. Acts of selflessness are far more beautiful than flawless diamonds and they give me more joy than a pic-nic for two in the country. Small considerations, kind words, gentle encouragement, prayers offered, and sacrifices made-- both given and received-- can, and do, "transform the dust of everyday life into a golden haze." That is the romance I have become accustomed to and it makes the Hollywood kissing-in-the-rain variety appear so flat and lifeless.

I liked the title of this painting, "Dance Me to the End of Love" because that is what I hope we will do. I imagine couples going before us and others following after, each of us learning how to love one another, love the children that come along, and love our neighbors ever more and more perfectly until, at the end, we all meet up in heaven to love for all eternity. Now that's romance.
*

22 comments:

Ken Wills said...

Very beautiful post. Nice way and thoughts to end the day.

Kristen Laurence said...

Suzanne, this is simply beautiful! I've never considered sacrifice to be a part of romance before. I am so far behind you on the path to virtue. I still love having a nice dinner out with Patrick alone and cuddling together with a bottle of port, without sacrifices involved. Oh, help!

Jennie C. said...

How very lovely...and I couldn't agree more!

Cheryl said...

Suzanne, such a beautiful post and so true. Have a wonderful day. :)

Erika said...

Suzanne,
That is just beautiful. I can't wait to discover that romance.

Bridget said...

Hopefully I will fit in a dress that size at the end of my days!! I love the imagery. Beautiful post!!

Ladybug Mommy Maria said...

Awesome post, Suzanne!

Maybe you should write a book????

Margaret in Minnesota said...

I agree with Maria. This is a publication-worthy post. Truly.

You say that "God has designed family life very wisely." I say that you have more than profitted from this wisdom. Even better, you choose to share it!

Blessing to you all.

Mary Poppins NOT said...

Yes, this is true. The sacrafice is painful, but love makes it a gift from the heart. And only gifts from the heart last into eternity. Many blessings to you and your husband, as you traverse your lives together!

Cay said...

Amen!

Hallie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hallie said...

Beautiful writing, wonderful message. You are so right!

Alice said...

Suzanne, this is sublime!

Absolutely beautiful and all so very true.

Suzanne Temple said...

Thank you to everyone who posted a comment here! You are all so kind. It is very much appreciated.

Elizabeth said...

This is so very true......
in the Orthodox marriage service, the couple are crowned - as king and queen of their little home and family, but also to symbolise the Christian "martyrdom" of marriage, the true dying to selfishness and steadfast growth of humility and love, compassion and charity.

Our wedding crowns are on display in the dining room, and sometimes when things get on my nerves, I just go and look at them, and rmeember what we undertook to do - to provide a Christian home and family.
It is not always easy, but it is always to be strived after.....

J.C. said...

Suzanne,
Thank you so much for your beautiful and insightful perspective on true romance. What a perfect prelude to Valentine's Day! It reminded me of my husband's small, but consistent acts of thoughtfulness, which I find so endearing. It motivated me to introduce more of this brand of romance from my end. In fact, I should go now--an opportunity to practice day to day romance beckons!

Lela said...

SUPERB! I read your post twice and my life is changing like that too. Never mind that I'm probably 10 years older than you; better late than never, huh?

Jane Ramsey said...

Beautiful and so true, Suzanne. I have sometimes longed for more "romance" in my marriage, but I'm coming to appreciate more and more the hot cup of tea when I wake up; being given a chance to sleep a little later on Saturdays; an afternoon email; and a man who loves his children passionately, and truly desires to have more! Who could ask for more than that?

Suzanne Temple said...

That's beautiful, elizabeth.

j.c? As in the j.c. I know?? Either way, I'm very touched that this little post inspired you. Thanks for visiting and thanks for your comment.

lela, that's funny. I often feel older than my age. Is that a good thing? I don't know. But that's the way it is.

Thank you, jane, it sounds like you have a wonderful husband.

J.C. said...

Suzanne,
Probably not the J.C. you have in mind, but it turns out we have crossed paths before, though you may not remember me. We were acturally dorm-mates for a semester at TAC. I left after the first semester to get married since my husband and I both had degrees before we came to TAC. You and your blog are truly a testament to the spirit and education offered at TAC! Congratulations and thank you for sharing.

Ouiz said...

That was an incredibly beautiful post. Thank you for reminding me, once again, of the joy and beauty found in family life.

I'm going to go hug my kids now.

Mary Ann said...

Suzanne - I have never in my life posted a comment but as a mother of 2 young boys your posting actually brought a tear to my eye and reminded me how thankful i am for all of my blessings - Thank You!

Mary Ann