I was talking to a friend of mine and I just realized something. We were talking about books, movies, fiction and the effect thereof upon us as humans.
I realized, as I was thinking out-loud, that in retrospect I do in fact live out the characters whom I see as representations of myself in fiction. I do in fact become them. I am different because of that fiction. I am different because it did affect my being, my perception of whom I am and whence I came, since the latter is molded by what I see, read, understand. While it may all be God’s gift, I then still don’t know what to make of it, because at the same time I am that person I see in that fiction and not, because I am myself and others from other works. I am definitely way different than before it. It affected me. I will never be the same because of it.
So who am I really? I am the sum of my actions, my feelings, my lifetimes in the fiction I read and saw, I am a child of God, and I am human.
But what does that mean about love? That is what I just realized. Love in its purest human form is not a feeling, but a choice of inclusiveness regardless of whatever or whoever that person is now, was or will become and hence transcends time. Let me explain.
Because a person is in a way a sum total of his choices, actions, things he had seen, read and understood, he is always different. He is never the same. A person is always changing, his personality is always growing, evolving if you will (and here I don’t mean in a naturalistic sense).
That means that real love is constant and unchanging choice. It transcends time and space in all directions. It judges not. It does not boast and it does not take things for granted, nor even its self. It is deeply personal. It doesn’t grab or take away. It gives. It is unconditional and free, unrestricted, condition-less. Or as the Bible puts it:
Love is kind and patient, never jealous, boastful, proud, or rude. Love isn’t selfish or quick tempered. It doesn’t keep a record of wrongs that others do. Love rejoices in the truth, but not in evil. Love is always supportive, loyal, hopeful, and trusting. Love never fails! Everyone who prophesies will stop, and unknown languages will no longer be spoken. All that we know will be forgotten. We don’t know everything, and our prophecies are not complete. But what is perfect will someday appear, and what isn’t perfect will then disappear.
(1 Cor 13,4–10)
I think it is in many ways, that only God’s love can be this perfect, holy. Yet as His creation, we as humans, share the capacity to a (though in some ways limited) love another being of our kin. The best representation of this kind of love is evident in a sacred matrimony, a marriage, a vow, a covenant, between two people.
That vow is timeless insofar as it establishes and confirms the choice to choose to love not only the exact same person who stands there by your side on the isle here and now, not even who that person was when you first met (and even before that, because you choose not to take that into account), but more importantly the person who your partner will become. Because in a similar way as I realized that the movies and books change who I am, your partner will be a different person years along the way as he is now. He will have been changed in an ever changing body, mind, personality, looks, and also because, even not necessarily in spite, of marrying you. Because you are also making him a different person.
Hence it follows, that you are really choosing that you will have been choosing to love that ever-changing person, whom you do not yet know. That is downright miraculous and incredibly hopeful.
This kind of human capacity is even more miraculous if you consider how limited we are and how God is perfect and eternal, though we certainly aren’t. Sure, God’s love is hopeful. It is perfect and holy. But it is also ever-knowing, because God is eternal and he loves in all times and choices, He might just as well know every single possible choice you and I could make, and yet He chooses to pour His love upon us all through Jesus Christ. But look now at the human, who is very temporally limited. No matter how we try to plan our lives, we cannot know what will happen even in the next day, hour perhaps. And that is why human love is so miraculous in comparison, because it is so very hopeful, that it does not stumble upon the possible futures when choosing to choose to love that person in front of the God almighty. It does not bother with all the possible outcomes of your partner. It trusts and hopes, it loves.
And so in some ways every marriage in front of God that lasts is a miracle. It is a testament to the miracle of how a human can in his brokenness still love, hope, trust and that the choice can endure. Every time someone chooses to seal himself with another in front of God, not because of who the other person is, but also will be, he shows how love can transcend and how miraculous it really is.
To love means to choose to love.