Saturday, December 4, 2010

Broken Love

How We Love, by Milan & Kay Yerkovich
"Namaste, I am Sushmita Sen from India, where love is the essence of life!"

   Sushmita Sen, who won the Miss Universe title in 1994, introduced herself during the first round of the competition with those words. I remember this line from a magazine article that I read a few months later featuring both her and Aishwarya Rai, who won the Miss World competition the same year in South Africa.

   It was, the latter half of that statement that made an impression on me - "...from India, where love is the essence of life!". That phrase was dredged from the depths of my memory by the TIME Magazine article that I mentioned in my last post, "Marriage Gets Mangled". Given the current state of affairs outlined by the TIME/Pew report, it doesn't seem that love is the "essence of life" anywhere.

   And that's the point I want to start off with:
Love is broken. And I'm broken too.

   I came to this realisation in early summer, through the book "How We Love". One of the "family" had been reading it, and recognized first himself and then me in a chapter covering one of the five damaged love styles or imprints - Avoider, Pleaser, Vacillator, Controller and Victim. "That's totally Kevin!", he said, pointing it out to my room mate. They both had to push through my usual obstinacy in order to coax me to read it, but when I finally did, it was a bombshell. The chapter described me with unnerving accuracy - childhood experiences, molding, adult mindset, core nature, thought processes, reactions and much more. I had been searching for these answers for more than a decade, but never expected them to be laid out with such lucidity. That book got passed around our "family" circle; I believe the reaction was pretty much the same as we each recognized ourselves described in there.

   After my initial shock wore off, the after-effect was pain and consternation; I contemplated anew the depth of my brokenness and all that needed healing. With so many answers crystallizing at once, I saw myself as never before. "Mirror, Mirror on the wall..." conjured up a shattered and fragmented visage reflecting a deluge of memories of abandonment, neglect, bullying, insults, submerged anxiety, anger, and much more.

   The realisation, when it hit, was like an arrow:
I don't know how to love.

   The next shaft was aimed by the Bible and struck even deeper: "We love because He first loved us." (1 John 4:19, ESV)

   As conviction sunk in, I was transfixed by implications of the 'because' straddling that sentence.

   Because I didn't know how to really love, but God did. Because He loved me first with real love. Because His love warmed a cold, hard soul. Because His love showed me the genuine from the forgery. Because I love people with His love, not my own. Because I'm incapable of loving anyone without knowing the deep, deep love of Jesus first. Because without this, anything that we claim to be 'loving' is a farcical sham. Because bogus love destroys relationships and marriages, sinking the ships of hopes and dreams.
       I am convinced that TIME Magazine asked the wrong question: "But if marriage is no longer obligatory or even - in certain cases - helpful, then what is it for? It's impossible to address that question without first answering another: Who is marriage for?" I believe the right question to ask, sung by The Black Eyed Peas is:

       Where Is The Love?

       It seems that "love" in North America has now become the proverbial dead horse under the flogging of bogus marriage. More reflections in upcoming posts.
    - The Wisdom Seeker