Wednesday, February 14

"I Don't Believe in Love"

“I don’t believe in love. I believe in God. Because He is bigger.”
-Cristina Ionescu, a street-dwelling teenager in Romania

I spent a significant part of this V-Day in class watching a documentary called, Children Underground. It was both beautiful and terrible. It presents the gritty lives of five Romanian street-dwelling children, and their fight to survive in a Bucharest subway. After watching it, I am more and more convinced that the gospel of the Kingdom is only good news if it is wholistic: bringing not just words, but sacrificial love, and a fight for justice at local and systemic levels. And I'm more convinced that I am, in some way, personally responsibile for systems of society that allow children to continue to live in the streets.

I also think Cristina from Romania has something to say to us. Maybe what she is saying is that love is something bigger than what society has told her.

Sham –noun
1. something that is not what it purports to be; a spurious imitation; fraud or hoax.

Concerning Valentine's Day, I maintain that it is a sham of a holiday. Not because I'm an embittered single woman (although I've had my moments), but because our Valentine's Day celebrations communicate something about the giving and receiving of love that is a sham. Our Valentine's Day purports that love is sweet, comfortable, and happy. I don't think love is such. I think that love is sacrificial, difficult, and oftentimes, sad. Love is a man hanging on a tree as a means of reconciliation. Love is forgiveness that makes others call you a fool. The disciple "whom Jesus loved" said that love is laying down our lives for one another. If this is true, loving our Valentines should mean anything but fluffy balloons and overpriced chocolates.

I'm not judging you for celebrating. I always enjoy getting V-day chocolates and "I love you's" from Mama and Dad, and others along the way. I certainly don't throw those away. But the sugar-sweet words of this "holiday" makes me struggle to know who's Voice is loudest in my ears about what love is all about. I want to live a life of sacrificial love that is both beautiful and terrible. (Lord, help us.)


Anonymous said...

You are dearly loved, and missed very much.

Pastor Phil said...

Hey Jenelle,

Love (ummmm should I use another word like "like" instead?) this post

jenelle said...

Thanks, Phil! And thanks anonymous dearly-loving-me-commenting one!