I remember a high school sweetheart, and this was our song:
I went to college. He joined the army and then went to college. We were terribly young. I was terribly unkind.
My sons were playing their music so loudly the car shook tonight. I had to stop myself from turning it down, because tonight they were amused by me singing along and doing the weird steering wheel dance. Usually that makes them mad and they turn off the music. So I didn't shut the door they were holding open.
It was so loud I couldn't hear how fast the car was going, and I had to keep looking at the speedometer to make sure I wasn't zooming down route 1. We made our way through Ke$ha's "Tick Tock" and Bruno Mars' "Grenade". Next up was "Stereo Hearts" by Gym Class Heroes:
It was dark in the car, and the music was blaring. The boys were singing under their breath all cool like. And I found myself in tears. I found myself nostalgic for what never was. Not nostalgic for a particular person, although I am grateful for all of the people who have loved with me. I was nostalgic for an imaginary construct--the perfect lover, the lid for my pot, the right dolphin-free fish in the sea.
My father used to say (and still does), "To each his own, said the old lady, as she kissed her cow." I always thought it was funny. But I always took it to heart somehow to mean that I would have my own to kiss. The majority of our songs, musicals, TV, movies, books, short stories, and poems assume "boy and girl live happily ever after." Any deviation from that script ends tragically. We shake our heads with pity. We look on knowingly. If they'd just worked harder, tried harder, stayed on the straight and narrow (pun intended), then the lovers would have lived forever in a mystical stasis, shielded from the sorrows of this universe by the strength of their love and eternal passion.
So here I am, a queer, divorced woman, mother of two sons, driving down the highway doing the weird steering wheel dance to "Stereo Hearts," weeping with nostalgia over the perfect lover who has yet to present zirself* in my life. This is a longing I do not particularly appreciate, as I am well aware of the pitfalls of projecting the archetype of perfect lover on any human foolish enough to accept it.
Valentine's Day arrives in all it's Cupid glory this week. I will probably post about intimate violence again, because the sweet narrative of perfect love often enough functions as a deceptive screen, masking violence and fear.
But I was reminded tonight that for me, as a Christian, perfect love is God's, perfected in us. From 1 John 4:
Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent zir only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that zie loved us and sent zir Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and zir love is perfected in us.So we ought to love one another. And if we love one another, God lives in us, and zir love is perfected in us. There are so many different ways we have to love one another. So many of us will be without romantic partners this week--some by preference, some longing for more. There's probably a large enough number of people who have a romantic partner and wish they didn't.
But we ought to love one another. As we love one another God lives in us, and zir love is perfected in us. Go find someone to love on this week. See how zie loves back. See how God lives in us and is perfected in us. You don't have to be smooching to love on someone. Just take over some goodies and ask a friend about zir week. Go sit with the homeless person who hangs on your corner. Chat up the grocery clerk, the mail carrier, whoever you can find. Love on your children, your parents, your friends--alla them, and see how God's love is perfected in us.
Some bread, some wine, and remembering the bodily love of one who loves us. Or cookies and milk. Or hummus and celery. Just go love. And know that this is perfect enough. Selah.
*To educate yourself about gender neutral pronouns, this is a good starting place: http://aetherlumina.com/gnp/
"zirself" is used in place of "himself" or "herself"
"zir" is used in place of "his" or "her"
"zie" is used in place of "he" or "she"
There are many other possible pronouns. Best thing if you're not sure: ask your friend or acquaintance what pronouns zie prefers.