A man finishes his 45 minute session with his favorite escort, smiling with a feeling of partial satisfaction as the lingering touch of her practiced passion leaves him feeling curiously empty and calm. The cocaine and alcohol which were the remnants of last night’s lust sends a pang of regret as he sees his empty bill clothes, patiently pushing him out the door. The man laughs tiredly, faintly reflecting once upon a time fold, remembering the bills coming this week. The woman makes small talk as she helps him with his when he was kept for cuddling instead of harried out to his home. Sighing deeply while setting his GPS to take him the quickest way to his fortress of solitude, he tries not the think about the many hours he will pass before rolling into his driveway. Another rattled breath escapes his lungs and a question scrapes across his subconscious, “Is this really what I want… affection without feeling, tenderness with a time limit, devotion without drama?”
I got to the service at my church late today and the preacher was in the middle of resuscitating the dead hearts and dreams of the people. His message was about the greatest commandment “Love”. It sounds so simple and yet I know this word meant for so much meaning falls flat on the floor too heavy for the fractured hearts of today to hold.
I reflect carefully through my own memories and stories I’ve heard cautious not to reawaken freshly mended wounds in my own heart, but it’s so hard to be logical when it comes to the “L” word and often we will take the shortcut to serenity settling for Love’s retarded brother Lust instead. A clumsy callous fix for what truly ails us but I’m not just talking about insubstantial sex, I’m referring to all the lusts of the flesh; to eat food till we puke with diabetes or heart problems, to use drugs until we are too numb to know what feeling is anymore, and to drink until we forget what truly matter in life. Our ability to be self-absorbed slips past our unconscious into the realm of reckless abandon and the lust is killing us.
The band begins to play this incredible song where the symphony of music and lyrics brings people out of their own way, to see the way. “So Beautiful” are the words repeated on the air of resurrected relationships and dreams. The people hug and hold each other with tears of real hope and forgiveness. There is not a dry eye in the sanctuary as people begin to reclaim hearts and souls long thought dead and dry. Shaking the dust off their past regrets and heartbreaks you see them begin to believe.
The gift of real love is so blinding, burning away pitiful perceptions of the illusions lived with and settled for in lifestyles unfulfilled. We can give money, time, even our virginity but the real sacrificial gift is our heart, naked and unashamed to truly bond with our brothers in need, giving the best we have of ourselves. There are several types of real passion, involving ourselves, friends, family or companion we commit to. These forms of fondness may differ slightly in degrees but they all share a core of sincerity and integrity.
Never confusing the real thing with codependency, enabling others to make us Gods in their desperate hungry eyes. This is a living love that creates life, not enslaves it. That receives love not just gives it. That makes love and doesn’t manipulate it. It is no wonder why we fall short searching for the real thing, because it’s hard to find something outside in the world when we can’t even find it inside our own soul.
So many people, myself included are guilty of fabricating reasonable replications of relationships trying to make them real but the story of Pinocchio becoming a real boy is only a fairytale. We can’t change the counterfeit into true currency despite how similar it may look. Yet our society invests so much time in making the artificial look like the real thing? I look at all the fascinating ways a person can pay to remold skin and teeth to cover up smoke stains and cellulite. Sacrificing the strength building struggle to quit smoking and do sit-ups, we have chosen not to learn anymore, ending the art of self-discipline to google what we don’t know. Jumping in and out of relationships before the education of commitment can take hold. Going to God with a wish list instead of the worship he deserves, seeing our partners as providers instead of people with personalities and promises of their own. We think love is a magical tool created for our own delight and satisfaction, when actually love is the truest form of communication between two souls giving and receiving energy, strength and salvation.
I understand the monumental task of creating true love from the inside out but the alternative is an empty facsimile of fake friends, fractured vows and false dreams. The reason our heart hurts so much is not due to the hatred of our haters, it’s from the self-induced starvation of our own soul. We nourish our inner self with neglect, lacking the simplicity of recognizing our own beauty designed by a genius that has destined us for more than self-pity.
The world is not some simple romance novel between vampires and humans, pure passion is the result of imperfect people committing to work through their flaws and fears to come face to face with their feelings naked and unashamed. The question is, “do we truly desire a whole heart capable of great things or will we continue to settle for the leftovers lust leave us, when we are done filling our face with fats, or drowning our minds with drugs, or when your 45 minute session is over and your wallet is as empty as your heart…