Hey, Jane ... get me off this crazy thing ... called love.
Dining out with the family Monday night I noticed the entrance of a group of 3 people that I quickly deduced was comprised of a mom and elementary school aged son and the boyfriend.
I'm a bit of a people watcher by nature, but one thing stood out to me early on. There was prayer before the meal.
Now, my family prays before we eat and I know many others do as well. It's not a test of orthodoxy or orthopraxy for me, but that's how we roll. Others may not, particularly in a restaurant, and I'm sure they have their own rationale.
But in my experience it's typically a corporate activity, either the family as a group prays or it does not.
Putting aside the question of "oughtness" for a moment, what struck me was that the mom & son turned toward each other and with impressive form (i.e., hands together in their laps, heads bowed, and eyes closed so they wouldn't get distracted) thanked their Maker for their meal.
The boyfriend? He did not. In fact, he kind of looked up at the ceiling in a manner that expressed his irritation or at least incredulity at their practice.
You know where this is going, don't you?
I felt for this mother with no ring on her finger. I'm sure she's thinking that it would be nice to have a husband and particularly to have a father-type for her son.
I so wanted to call time out and tell her, "He's not the one."
This is a lady to whom her spirituality is of vital importance and has taught her son to value the same. But she's entertaining the idea of this man being Mr. Right and he clearly doesn't hold similar values.
I know I don't know all there is to know and I don't want to be presumptuous, but it's nothing new, this oft repeated story. Not only would she be wrong to enter into a marriage where they would be "unequally yoked" (2 Cor 6:14), but she would only be continually frustrated with a man who could not be her spiritual leader and would not be a role model of a godly man for her son.
Since I'm assuming this man is not the "smart" choice for her, one she would make with her head, I can only assume her motivation is founded in her "heart."
Would she say something as trite and yet as powerful as, "We're in love?"
As the father of 3 daughters, this worries me.
It's hard to reason with one in love. Just ask Percy Sledge:
When a man loves a woman,
Can't keep his mind on nothing else.
He'll trade the world
For the good thing he's found.
If she's bad he can't see it.
She can do no wrong.
Turn his back on his best friend,
If he put her down.
The key, it seems to me, is to protect ourselves from "falling in love" with those who we should not commit our love to.
Ladies and gentlemen, don't get on that crazy thing called love, for it's too hard to get off once you're on.
This is the whole point of "courting" being preferred to "dating." In courting you're exploring the possibility of marriage and the relationship is moving in that direction. In dating, people are typically setting their sights on the shorter-term, but often emotional (or other) attachments occur that complicate matters.
Of course, in this whole process the role of the Christian community comes into play and can be a huge asset. I just hope that young lady at the restaurant has other Christians in her life that have the capital built up to be able to have her ear AND they have the courage to act in her best interest.