Saturday, June 20, 2009

Not sentimentality - science.

Someone told me years ago why orphanages were closed down, and foster caring became the way of caring for children without parents. It was a bit of a shock! The mortality rate was higher among children brought up in orphanages than among those raised in family homes. The reason was, children need to feel loved. This is not just mush and sentiment - it is actual health science. Just having a balanced diet, a regime of exercise and all the material stuff was not adequate. To live, human beings need to have a reason to live. And the best place is in a proper home.
Now for a slightly different angle on the issue. An article I read told of a people complaining that they were lonely and could not find a partner. There just (they said) 'wasn't anyone out there.'
Right, so I can't claim to know all about them. But I've heard said, by someone who runs an introduction agency, that some of those searching for partners are just too hard to please! If male, they want a cross between Cleopatra, Queen Guinevere and Miss Universe. If female, they want a cross between King Arthur, Romeo and Superman. The expectations are not just unreasonable, they are plain shallow! The idea is that you draw up a set of specifications and the partner has to match them. They have to be what you want, like the man in "Pygmalion" who made a statue of his 'ideal' woman.
So to get to the point, is that approach really loving someone?
Love does not mean you have to be a doormat. It DOES mean that you care about someone for themselves, and not just because they please you. Loving a wife or husband does NOT mean they make a good trophy to be seen with, or a good social connection. It means you value what they are, warts and all. Because we all have some crinkles and imperfections. And if you get too picky and critical of others, you invite them to say, 'look in a mirror. Aren't you only human too?'
This is the frightening bit. It seems some people really do not know what love is. Now there is an irony! The word 'love' gets thrown around like a confetti at a mass wedding. People talk, sing or joke about it all the time. Do they really know what they mean? Mushy stuff all aside, love is something people need to live. And it is about giving to someone one, not just enjoying them for yourself. But some people do not seem to realize that.
So what is a good example? Try this. The human race has nothing that Jesus Christ needs, because He can make anything He wants any time He chooses. As He said, God can turn stones into bread, or into people, if He chooses. So why did He bother to go through Hell (literally!) to save us? Because He cared enough to suffer that, for us not for Himself. To give, not just take.
Humans need to get that. Loving is giving, not just getting what you want.
And I need to remember that too. To coin a phrase: lecturer, learn thyself.


Fr. Peter Doodes said...

a fellow minister was taking a marriage service. The bride was, he guessed, very nervous before hand and had a Gin and tonic just before she left home and was now more than relaxed.

They got to the section where she was asked "do you take this man for better and for worse" when she turned with an amazed look at my colleague and said "well I don't suppose he will ever get any better, and he certainly couldn't be any worse, but of course I do, I can't live without him!"

Sort of sums it all up....

Farrah said...

I have heard something similar about children. Babies do much better if they are held. They need human contact.

God provided mates for many in the bible. I believe if people will ask and trust in Him, He will bring the perfect companion. He did for me! :-)

Andrew Clarke said...

Fr Peter, that story is a classic! Thanks for sharing it. As you say, it is that bride probably spoke straight from the heart, rather than the script; but what she said is how it has to be.
Farrah, as you say: I too was shown the mate God intended. It's a funny thing! I spent four years on a university campus, with hundreds of female students around, but met Liz on a blind in a town of 900 people. You can not always foresee what God will do or how He does it, but you can TRUST in Him.

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Jenny B. said...

Thanks for your comment on my blog.

Both my grandfathers were in WWII, but neither of them made it to combat. Two of my uncles saw service in Vietnam- One ended up at a desk, but wanted to be in combat. The other wanted to be at a desk, and ended up in combat. God was faithful to protect both. My dad was, at one point, in Vietnam (I think he was working as an engineer, or something), and a bomb blew up under his ship. No Americans were killed, but a few Vietnamese were injured. My brother is old enough to be drafted (not quite 30), but, thankfully, they haven't come to that. God's been very faithful to my family.

Mella said...

A year ago you commented on my blog, saying almost the same thing which you have posted here.

And somehow, today, I randomly came over to look at your blog and here it is. The lesson you taught me so long ago staring me right back in the face: "Loving is giving, not just getting what you want."

Maybe it was fate that brought me here.

So, basically, thank you for reminding me once more (especially now) that the reality of Love is that it isn't impossible - just…selfless. :)