"A frank, unchastened, generous creature,
Whose faults and virtues stand in bold relief."
Dear Katy is looking for love in all the wrong places. Her mother loves her more deeply than any other person on earth. And because of that love, she speaks the truth that her daughter does not want to hear. Katy thinks it's love that she is seeking, but it is really admiration. No, it's worship, is it not?
Girlfriend, I feel your pain.
It makes me laugh to think of some of my teenage crushes.
Did these boys point me to Jesus as the True Friend who will always love me best and first? No.
Did they encourage me to be the woman that God created me to be? No.
Did they love me for the unique individual that I am, flaws and awkward glasses and horrible denim skirts and all? No.
Did they even know or care that I existed?
Sigh. Nope. I was pretty much invisible. Either that or I was so embarrassingly obvious that they loathed me entirely and ran for the hills the moment I entered the room. I think invisible would have better for all concerned.
I understand where Katy is at right now. She wants so badly to be told that she is amazing, beautiful, unique. To be admired and emulated, whether by her girlfriends or a young man. She is missing her father, who made her feel secure and beloved. She is rebelling against her mother, possibly because her mother represents the surrendered life that Katy is so desperate to avoid. The thought of marriage took her completely by surprise. I don't know what she thought an engagement would lead to, bless her heart. She confesses:
"All I had wanted was for Charley to come here every day, take me out now and then and care for nobody else."
In other words, she is in love with the idea of being in love.
What are the warning signs that alarm her mother?
"How can you fail to see what I see, oh! so plainly, that Charley Underhill never, never can meet the requirements of your soul . . . His flatteries delude, and his professions of affection gratify you. You do not see that he is shallow and conceited and selfish . . . His ruling passion is love of admiration. The little pleasing acts that attract you are so many traps set to catch the attention and the favorable opinion of those about him. He has not one honest deisire to please because it is right to be pleasing."
If only we would listen to the wise advice of those who love us best.
Like Katy, I started off looking for a young man who would make me feel valuable. Someone who would love me without being obligated to. Of course my family loved me, but they kind of had to. There is something very validating in proving that someone could choose to love you. Couldn't help but love you!
Except . . .
that is just self love. There is no rejoicing in that which is good, true, or noble in the other person. There is no sacrifice. It's not love, it's idolatry.
There came a day when I resolved to be mature. No more crushes. I was 15 and a half and it was time to grow up. (I know, I'm killing myself with laughter right now) I was going to just wait for the man God had for me and dispense with the awkward and embarrassing infatuations with boys that couldn't care less.
The very next week I went to church and did what I always did, checked to see if Robert's truck was in the parking lot.
During the service I did what I always did, I watched Robert as he sat on the front pew, sang with gusto and scribbled furious notes.
I was already in love and didn't even recognize it because for once in my life it wasn't about me. It was just pure admiration of a man (who, once again, barely knew that I existed) for who he already was.
And that is what love is.
I think when Katy begins to realize that this is the sort of love towards God that she is missing, her life is going to turn around.
What I see as I read this week's chapter is that self-centeredness is a black hole of need that is ever collapsing in on itself. When do you ever have enough? Your vessel is cracked and all the love you can grab runs right back out. We have to realize that we were never meant to hold in love, but to be channels of love. God's love, running right through us and watering the thirsty souls all around. The Dead Sea is dead precisely because all the water flows into it, but there is no natural outlet. Instead, the blazing sun beats down, evaporating the life giving water and leaving behind the deadly minerals. I don't want to be like that.
So, what are your thoughts?
Do you have any humorous teenage crush stories to tell?
How did you find true love?
Any words of insight or wisdom?
I love hearing from you! Thank you so much, all of you, for your support and participation.