Dear all of you most beauteous and precious feminine readers, I must, out of charity, inform you that there is a good bit of verbage herein which refers to women in the possessive or makes reference to a certain choosing which is metaphorically likened to shopping for a lawn. Please be not offended. I am a man, and a wife is her husband's just as he is his wife's. And I have no intention of pretense that a girl is worth only as much as a shrubbery. 'twould be quite silly of me, in fact.
And now, to business.
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All I ever do
is fall for you
And every word we've ever said
is like a stamp inside my head.
It'd be a lie to say I've really seen
any thing you didn't see with me
ever since I thought of you and me.
Rational thought has damned itself
And I must start trying something else.
All's well ends well, they say the same. Well, that'd be all good if I knew what was going to happen.
Objective thought and reason and considerations and prudence and self-knowledge is all well and good too. At least until something in me has decided to go and fall for someone else. And it doesn't make any sense. There's no good reason for me to do something like this. In fact, it is quite unreasonable. And I don't understand it. And the thing is, I feel I must, for there's no denying that there is a such thing as 'like liking' or 'having a crush' or 'falling for' somebody. In any (even an adolescent) dogmatic exploration of the nature of love, crushes must be accounted for.
Truth is, I spent the past week in a state of having 'fallen for' Mary, whatever that means. Essentially it consisted of me spending my time thinking about her, and her and me, and all sorts of silly things and how pretty she is and all that--and of course, how terribly perfect she is in every way. I know this feeling, and so do others. It's that which makes people think someone is, by all means, the best of their gender to have ever lived, to say things like 'all roads lead back to you', or to behave as though they would never be happy without the 'love' of this person. Perhaps it is partly the mystery and allure of the forbidden. And perhaps it is partly the love of an idea, something which none could ever fulfill. But surely it is a truly human fact that these things happen, and that we do not have so much control over them, no matter how fully we understand and believe in our rationality of existence.
And the fact is that none of this makes any sense. Logically, I am completely capable of reminding myself that I am beginning to see a relationship between us as the only good which could come out of the situation. I could remember that I am beginning to take the good of being single and pretend that it is no good at all. I could remind myself that God works through the love of philia as much as that of eros. I could try to bring it to mind that love is hardly a thing which is any more present in a marriage, in any automatic way, than it is in a friendship. And I can reason out that clearly, I am attempting to attach myself where I should not, and where there is not even any hold. But that helps not, and though I had no intention of pursuing Mary, I had still a great longing, what anyone would see as a great crush upon her (sounds horribly violent, doesn't it?)
And what I am forced to realize is that this thing called a crush or any of these desperate desires seem, in any real sense, to be simply a very strong sort of disordered appetite. And it makes sense. My appetite for food is disordered. My appetite for drink is disordered. My appetites for games and parties and feasting and literature and music and appearances and affirmation and art and sleep and money and comfort are all disordered. Why should I assume that the appetite I may have for relationships, whether it be friendly or romantic, is the solemn and beneficent voice of God in my life? Why should I assume that a desperate desire for someone's presence, for some pledge of their love, is God's will, and should, therefore, be immediately and single-heartedly pursued? And that's if I have the presence of mind to think of God. Usually it's more like assuming that this relationship is precisely what I need, that the fact that I want it is any withstanding indication that it's any good for me.
Now, in Mary's case, whether it be chance or some arrangement of passion in concordance with prudence, well, it turns out that she would be precisely the woman I would pursue in right mind. Perhaps what captured my attention so fully is that she is so unafraid of human touch--so many have learned to fear the graze even of a hand or a glancing pass of the hip such that frantic apologies abound at the merest bump. For someone like me who relates so well through physical contact, her ability to trust must be horribly alluring. Or it might be her realism and wisdom, her humilty which checks my rampant and raucous pride. Perhaps it is her purity or her chastity-her holiness. And perhaps it is that she is precisely the type of girl whom I can see myself coming to at the end of each day, whom I would trust to raise my children, whom I would trust to watch after me.
And yet, none of these things would seem to prove that she is the fairest one of all. None would suggest that she is the only star in the sky, or that she is the brightest, but realistically, it merely shows that she shines and that sufficiently for me. Perhaps, though, this is the same infatuation as occurs between a man and his country. Modern thought would have us all recognize in writing and with a judge present that 'no, my country is not inherently better than all others and does not deserve any special rights'. But human hearts, if left to themselves, will always have a great love for the very spot where they make their home. But then, it occurs to me, that this only happens when that plot of land is already my home. It would be silly indeed to love Wales above my motherland and home. It would be silly to love my neighbor's house as the best. Properly, the sun which shines on our own lives is no brighter than all other stars, but we love it and look to it as the only source of light because that it should be, for us. We love it because it is our star. We love it because it gives heat and life to us.
But then, wouldn't infatuation with a girl who is not mine, or who, in fact, is someone else's, wouldn't it be as silly as loving my neighbor's garden or having a passionate and romantic symbolism in my life centered around the warmth and dawning of Alpha Centauri or Sigma-2398? But these things happen. We humans recognize those with these disordered passions, it is only natural: astronomers who seem to consider Saturn their home, botanists who lust after every new specimen, as well as those who spend their lives pining after some forbidden maid. The thing is, we are so slow to recognize any necessity in the temperance of these passions, these appetites--especially when it is as hard as getting over a girl. We are commanded not to covet another's wife, and though we may find ourselves so desperately attracted to her that we feel we may not be able to control ourselves, we must make some providence for our restraint, as we must understand that this appetite is simply not in its proper place and will not find satisfaction. (I will never see, no matter my desire, the dawning of Sigma-2398.)
The proper place of this passion, of this infatuation, is that same proper place of patriotism, of centralism, of love for one's own...anything. It is when I am pledged to a woman that I properly am infatuated with her, for she is my sun, my shining love, my great and precious lady. It is proper that I have this love for my lady. She carries me onwards as I do her and she is my love as I am hers. We share entire lives. It is improper, then, to have this precious devotion to another's wife or to one who is not at least on the way to becoming yours. It seems almost as silly to be searching for a garden for yourself and fall in love at sight of one, deciding immediately to purchase it above all others simply because its arrangement has caught your eyes spectacularly or because of the exotic and rare flower it holds, and disregarding entirely its ability to provide as you need of it.
And this all brings me back to Mary. She, in no manner, is on her way to becoming my wife. And if accompanying these feelings of devotion to her are thoughts of us in relationship, I should not be surprised, for that is the only proper place for such a devotion. I do, however, need to recognize that there is a need to repress these appetites and ideas, just as I might repress the idea of a delicious dessert when it is quite imprudent to receive one. I must remember that these thoughts of relationship are merely those, imaginations and fantasies, and that though it is but a facet of my human nature that I experience this, it is hardly something which should, by this sole proof, be pursued.
And there comes a final thought, one of danger and one situationally specific. It is written by a good Catholic man that we should not drink because we have to, but precisely because we do not have to. And one of the things which he means is that it is truly the most dangerous time to partake of a good when it seems to be the only good, and the most destructive time to enjoy a blessing is when that blessing seems the sole medication for a lack which is suffered. Just the same, I believe, it is quite imprudent to embark upon a relationship in a time of this unwarranted devotion, for the arch has been built before the foundation, and as soon as the keystone of infatuation is removed, the entire structure will crumble and the wreckage will seem to present quite a challenge of extrication. When a girl is seen as the best and most precious of all girls and when this girl is not, in any serious manner, designated as one's significant other, it is properly not the best time to begin such a project, as one will soon find that his nationalistic passion was wasted on a foreign land, and, when the land is reached, the voyager knows not how to love a home.
Mary is a precious friend and a dear ally in as much as we share. And yet, she is no partner of romance. It shall be understood that though she is perhaps a very proper candidate for marriage, a pursuance of such is improper as such a juncture in which I am so clearly infatuated. All that seems to betray a sort of expectation, which could grow into taking things in a relationship for granted and, having not entered into the relationship in a right mind, being forced to leave the same in a mind even worse off.
My end is light and light my love
and to my end I gladly go.
And if you would come, my sun, my dove,
This light I'd gladly share and show.