I couldn’t stop listening in on the conversation. She was flustered, he was laughing nervously. After a few clumsy minutes, she finally utters a complete sentence and the room went silent. “I, I, can’t believe we’re here. I just, I have to date you. You are perfect. You are funny, really smart, kind, a teacher, great…” It was clear that she had been thinking and rehearsing her sentences all day. She was lucky to have arrived safely at the coffee shop, and I am glad I wasn’t driving behind her since I have a feeling she was more than a bit distracted.
It was the start of something new for them, in all of its simplicity and awkwardness. Although it felt like something I wasn’t supposed to hear, I am glad that I got to be in the same space with them. It sent my mind spinning with questions that have rattled around in my head long after the 3 cups of caffeine wore off.
Will they remember this day? Will it be something they come back to as a bookmark in their relationship?
When he is being an idiot, will she be able to come back to this place where she loved him so irrationally?
When she is distant and distracted, will he be able to draw her back in like he once did so effortlessly?
The entire event was captivatingly irrational. In that moment, she loved him completely and was unable to see any faults. He, for a brief moment in time was seen and accepted regardless of all of his issues. Although we know it is temporary, something in us longs to love and be loved in this un-throttled way.
I am beginning to think that the best kind of love requires both parties to be irrational, at least occasionally. This is because we each have an extensive list of unlovable characteristics, habits, and histories. When you get to know someone well, you become an expert on the faults of the other, which only makes it more difficult to be irrational. This couple was in a rare moment in their story where they haven’t yet learned exactly how imperfect the other is.
At the same time, the most scandalous type of love is not this first encounter. Instead, it is when someone loves recklessly in full knowledge of just how undeserving the object of their love is. Perhaps this is one of the secrets to a long, enjoyable relationship. Maybe you need to regularly allow yourself to gush and spill on them in spite of the fact that you could teach a class on their quirks and annoying habits.
I also believe that this is why the story of Christ on the cross is so enduring. It isn’t that someone would die for others, though that is still remarkable. It’s the fact that someone would die for others that obviously didn’t deserve it. It is completely ridiculous, and yet that is what causes us to come back to the story again and again. Like the couple gushing over each other, we long to be known and loved despite ourselves.
While we are spending this season coming to grips with all of our issues, this event has me even more eagerly anticipating Easter. It’s irrational to believe that I can be loved completely, but that’s why I can’t stop thinking about it.