At every turn on the road, at every peak on the mountain and at every new place in our life we have a new view both of what is before us and what is behind us. Consider what you see as you climb a small hill in otherwise flat countryside. If you stood back a half mile or so viewing the small hill, it seems as though it is only a small rise, nothing to demand much attention. But when you reach the top of the hill you are able to see things on the landscape that were completely hidden before you reached the top.
Think of viewing two people in love from three perspectives in one person’s life and the vast difference in what one is able to see. Our first view of being in love is as teenagers, viewing the love affair that goes on each day between one’s own parents. It’s certainly not a new view. You watched this love affair at every point in your life. The love wasn’t understood at all when you were a child seeing their shared love for you and their excitement in what you were becoming before them. You thought then more of the love they each had for you than of the love they had for each other. But one day as you matured you noticed the looks they gave each other. It had been embarrassing to you when your friends were around and your parents kept touching each other in those tender ways that seemed almost like the infatuation of two fellow teenagers for each other.
From this view of love, it seems to be safe, inclusive and accepting. It is also true at this point that the love we see in parents has a strange and rare side to it. We too often observe the parents of our friends who seemed to be so deeply in love at earlier points in life, breaking apart and ripping their families apart. Love is both attractive in that we see it as wonderful for the family that stays together and keeps on loving each other. But it is scary to see that those who have shared everything may turn into mortal enemies of each other.
Add ten years, a college experience, and the early days of one’s career and look at love from a new vantage point. It is as though one has climbed to the top of a new mountain peak and is standing there looking, dreaming of what life might be. Love at this point is different. It isn’t just something to be observed with warm feelings and wonder any more. Love is something at this point one longs for. If they haven’t found that person or that relationship that is special, exciting and makes one feel alive, they are wondering why and what they will have to do to find such a love. Being in love seems like the normal way to live. Instead of being in love seeming like a movie or TV mystery, it is what makes life meaningful and complete. From this vantage point if love hasn’t become a normal part of life we tend to think something is wrong with us.
Let’s change vantage points one more time. Allow twenty to twenty five years to pass. Life has taken on more of a routine. Children are now grown and on their own. Most likely they have been deeply in love themselves perhaps more than one time. It is as though you reached the top of a mountain peak and have gone down the mountain and into a clearing to see the valley before you as never seen before. Being in love at this point isn’t so much the wonder, the giddy feelings or the rush of rapid heartbeats. Being in love after years have past and you are still deeply committed to each other through all the changes, the storms and the failures of life feels natural. It gives meaning and purpose to life. Being in love means you can walk together through deeper waters than anyone could walk on their own.
Do you remember the Old Testament story of Jacob? He had been as crooked in his treatment of his brother as one could be. But when he came to his uncle Laban’s house his whole life changed. He met Rachel and his heart began beating faster. He loved and longed for her so much that he committed to work for seven years to have her hand in marriage. When his uncle cheated him, he worked another seven years for her, then for six more years. But even after twenty years of working he had no doubt that Rachel was worth it. Twelve children had been born and most were now grown when the whole family headed back to home. Rachel was pregnant with the twelfths son and thirteenth child but if you could have been there when Rachel was trying to give birth to that son, Benjamin, you would still have been able to see and feel the love Jacob had for Rachel.
The view changes from one place to another. Yet it is no less a matter of being in love when one looks at it from one view as from another. At every point in life, being in love gives fullness, meaning and purpose to life. Truly, being in love makes life full on any day.
I hope you get to experience being in love from all the different points. You just don’t want to miss any part of it.