As a child, at least as a child growing up heavily in church as I did, you are taught to memorize verse after verse. I remember most of the verses, even if it’s not word-for-word and the exact location. I can hold my own in an intellectual, biblical conversation. Its one of the things I’m most proud of about myself.
Due to this, you can say phrases to me or read tiny bits of chapters of a book that inspire me and make me delve deeply into my indoctrinated childhood of scripture.
One day, shortly after being woken from a nap by my dog barking at me, Nick sat down and started reading some medieval piece of literature to me. Sometimes when he reads to me, my mind drifts off a bit into its own thought. This is why, while I love to read, it takes me a while to get through a book.
So there he was reading to me … and my mind wandered. I don’t remember the exact set of words, but what was leftover (and maybe this isn’t what the point of the chapter was but this is what happens when you only read one paragraph to me).
How many times is it that we try to fill a void with everything imaginable? We try to obtain money through a job. We try to find unconditional love that pets can give. Sometimes we go on vacations, attend meetings, go out with friends. I think often when we find someone our soul truly and deeply connects to, we find something that comes the closest to filling the void.
After long last we have found our beloved, we have found the one that pleases and calms our soul and mind. We have found our opposite, our soulmate. We have found someone to love forever.
It’s in these moment we get lost within love. Love is a type of water. Love can quench thirst, it can make one clean, it can heal wounds. To be corny, love lifts us up where we belong. But the trouble with love, no matter who you are or who they are, it is never exactly pure. It can be close, but it’s not perfect.
Never completely pure
Whenever I get on this topic, I always tend to go back to Jacob (who of course becomes Israel and the start of the Jewish, Christian and Muslim faiths). Why? Because you see so many examples of love in this story.
We have Jacob, who I always assumed must have been some Charleston Heston hunk type with muscles and a great beard. Everyone was impressed by him and wanted to be around him. He fell for Rachel, and worked for her hand in marriage only to be given her older sister, Leah. We just kind of assume that they must have known each other and she was probably taken with him, so she went along with the trick: married him, bedded him, and it was sealed.
Of course he was angry, but we never hear of him taking it out on Leah. He just works more and finally gets Rachel as his wife (and two maid servants along the way as wives as well). Rachel at first you assume is this pure wonderful creature. Her name literally means “ewe” – a female (or baby) sheep. We assume she’s sweet, loving, and kind. What we get from the biblical Rachel is a jealous woman who steals from her own family.
Families and love – they are always there, always helping, but never completely pure. They will help you, they will heal you, they will make you feel such joy. But this love can only do so much for one’s soul.
At this moment, this is where those who say love can cure all would quote Jerry Maguire with, “You complete me.” Whenever anyone says that, I just think of Dr. Evil saying it to Mini Me. Probably because it’s being made fun of in that instance.
The embodiment of love
Yes, love can make you feel whole – but it will not make you whole. It will never make everything better. It is wonderful, and it’s amazing to have a partner who loves you to the best of their ability. But their best will never be enough. Their best can not truly take care of you, wholly, for ever. They will need breaks, they will need “me time,” they will need you to take care of them. And that’s still wonderful.
But at the end of the day, the only thing that can cure brokenness, pain and the void we carry with us is the love that is actually pure. Bible verse memory reminds me daily that “God is love.” He doesn’t just love, he doesn’t just give love. He literally is the embodiment of love.
To quote CS Lewis, “God cannot give us peace and happiness apart from Himself, because it is not there.” Replace peace and happiness with love, and that statement feels even more true. The love we mere humans give to each other is only through the love that God has given to us just by his being God. Maybe we don’t mean to, maybe we do – but we bastardized that love daily because we are incapable of being God and being pure.
The love we give each other is needed. It’s amazing, even. But that love means nothing if we don’t accept for ourselves that there is a higher power from which it comes. When we accept that, the love becomes slightly more pure on the scale, but never will it reach completely pure and Holy.