When Romance isn’t a Comedy.

I always thought I’d be absolutely wonderful at a long distance relationship. Having been on my own for so long, I was convinced that my independent nature and propensity for solitude and low maintenance sensibility was the recipe for finding … Continue reading

Maybe love is…

I’ve been wondering what love is lately; what it would sound like or feel like or look like should I wish to draw a picture of it to keep in my pocket to take out on the days where loneliness and emptiness grab at my ankles, tripping me as I reach towards something lovely.

My knees and heart are bruised in my search for love. Though I suppose I should confess – I’ve never been in love…at least I don’t think I’ve been in love, and I have a friend who often (OFTEN) says, “When you know you know, and when you don’t know you still know” and since he’s rather brilliant, he tends to be right more often than I’d admit.

But, really, if I can’t look back, surrounded by memories and feelings and the smiles he shared with me when he thought they meant nothing, and simply know to my bones that that was love, then I’m inclined to guess it wasn’t. So I’m left with empty hands and eyes full of questions and lips that long for a kiss that’s been waiting for years or maybe just long enough for me to cross the room to him.

I thought I knew what love looked like. A few years ago, or even a few months ago, if you had asked me “What does love look like?” I would have said love was tall; well, taller than me. You know the type: tall, dark, and handsome. That’s what I thought love looked like.

I thought love was a person, someone to fill an emptiness inside me, but I don’t think that’s right. Continue reading

The Language of “Love”

I find it fascinating that we often use the word “indescribable” to describe falling in love. We have thousands upon thousands of words at our disposal, adjectives and adverbs by the mouthful, but when we ask someone to describe how it felt to fall in love, they get a whimsical little smile on their face and say “There are no words.”

No words to illustrate a romance, to explain the moment of recognizing another’s soul, to reveal the heady descent into a blissful abyss. And I think that’s telling. One of the most amazing, wonderful, glorious, sought after moments in the human experience and our language just isn’t enough. We are left speechless, wrapped in a hazy inability to give voice to the overwhelming nature of our feelings. Even poets, masters of language, rely on metaphors to draw us an almost picture. It is always “Love is like…” rather than “Love is…” The whole thing intrigues, really.

We have so few words to use when it comes to love. The word has become rather diluted in our overuse of the term. We love nature and family and Diet Coke and our spouse with the same word. There are no real gradations of the emotion. We love. Period. We can decrease our love down to “like” or “infatuation” or “fondness”, but we cannot adequately nuance it. We’ve lost our specificity. Even words like “adore” and “cherish” and “treasure” and “admire” have become muddled. We apply them to so very many things, and somewhere along the way, they have all faded into each other.

As a writer, I choose my words carefully in the same way a painter decides which shade of blue his sky must be. There are so many to choose from, and they are selected with care and purpose. Words mean something; there is power in them. They can wound and they can heal, and therefore they must be respected. So when I write of love or something like it, I’m often frustrated. Because I want to be specific. I want to describe the right kind of love. When I write of loving my family and loving my friends and loving a man, I want them each to be special in their own way. I want that love I’m speaking of to be unique to the situation. I want to take love and divide it up so that I can understand it, while still knowing that by doing so I ruin the beauty of what love truly is.

Love isn’t really a concrete thing we can hold onto. We can’t pin it down and explain it easily. This is what makes it beautiful and lovely and worth having; love, essentially, is surrounded by an air of mystery. Because really, you can’t dissect falling in love. It never happens the same way twice. It can’t be analyzed like an experiment; there is no control, only a billion variables unique to a billion people. One falls in love the way one falls asleep. You are conscious and aware and firmly awake until you slowly begin to drift off and things become a little hazy and wonderful and suddenly you’re in the middle of dreams and new worlds and you can’t imagine how you lived without that person near you. You wake up transformed and look over at the beautiful soul by your side and just smile because they hold your heart and there is nothing in this world more wonderful than that.

Maybe what makes love so amazing is that we don’t have enough words for it. We can’t define it or divide it into compartments. We love and we love and we love. In some ways, it seems that our language was created around the idea of unconditional love, rather than a love that can be narrowed down to specifics for certain people or situations. I love my family and I love my friends and I love my writing and I love words, and maybe I don’t love them all in the same way, and yet I do. I love them all completely, with every piece of my heart. I don’t love any of them less, because all of them are worth loving. I adore them and I admire them and I cherish them, all of them. And when I stop to think, really think, I don’t want to try and dilute my love. I don’t want to reduce it to anything other than the almost indescribable feeling each of those things blesses me with.

Maybe there is no “right kind” of love. There is only love.

The French, when saying “I love you”, say “Je t’aime”. This always frustrated me when I was learning French, because the verb “aimer” really means “to like”. So you’re saying “I love you” with the same words that someone uses to describe liking a sport or kind of food or the weather outside. I hated the universality of it; it left much unsaid. It was too simple, too pedestrian. And confusing, perhaps, because maybe I’m just saying “I like you” but it could be taken as “I love you”, and that could create an awkward moment because you’re hoping the person doesn’t take it the wrong way, or maybe you’ve just started dating and you don’t want him or her to think you’ve said “I love you” first. What a tangled web our words can weave.

But now I can see the beauty in that simplicity, the beauty of “Je t’aime”. Because the person to whom you’re speaking, the person whose eyes are you looking into and whose heart is beating in time to your own, will know exactly what you mean. They know you love them and they believe it. They don’t question how much or wonder what kind of love you mean. They simply know.

I think our world would be a lovely place if we loved each other that way. Instead of trying to compartmentalize our love, if we just loved each other completely, unconditionally, without definition or limitation, just maybe we could change the world. Maybe we could become exactly the sort of people we were created to be. A people who love first and love second and love because when you take away all the extras, all the clutter of life and narrow it down to the most essential thing, the one thing we all believe in, love is what matters. It is what you remember most. It was what your soul and heart and mind were created for. I dare you to embrace it.

Thank you for reading! And maybe (definitely) follow me on Twitter >> @cassiclerget.
I’m pretty entertaining.

I’m Single but not Broken.

{I originally wrote this piece for Cory Copeland’s blog last August. And it still remains one of my favorite pieces, something straight from my heart. I hope you can enjoy it with me.}

***

I’m sitting alone in a coffee shop as I write these words. Comfortably seated at a small table built for two, I enjoy a raspberry Italian soda, the blank page, and the occasional conversation courtesy of Twitter and text messages. I see couples enjoying their coffee, watch young hipsters pass by on the sidewalk as they take in the sun, and I feel content. I don’t envy them or wish I was them. I’m not embarrassed of the empty chair across from me.

A year ago, I couldn’t have done it. I couldn’t have displayed my aloneness, my singleness in such an obvious manner. If I wanted to go for coffee, to the bookstore, or on an aimless adventure, I would have sought company. I would never have gone to a movie alone. I would have begged my sisters or pleaded with friends to avoid going out and announcing to the world that I was alone, unattached, by myself, single.

I would rather have just spent untold hours in the dark quiet of my room.

I’ve spent years being embarrassed and maybe even ashamed by my lack of a relationship status. I’ve never gone on a real date or had a first kiss; brought a guy home to meet my parents; celebrated an anniversary with my boyfriend; had a guy give me flowers, chocolates or poetry (though I could probably do without the poetry). I’ve never looked at a man and said, “I love you.” I’ve been the perpetually single at twenty-four young woman, and I’ve done everything to hide it. I didn’t want people to wonder what was wrong with me. I didn’t want guys to think I was defective. I didn’t want to feel unwanted, unattractive, or untogether.

Women often try to turn their desire to get married into a joke. Girls at college (especially those of the Christian variety) laugh about getting a “ring by spring” or an MRS degree. We create notebooks and Pinterest boards dedicated to our eventual wedding. We write letters to our future spouse, pick out baby names, and wonder if every guy we meet is the One while the wedding scene from The Vow scrolls through our mind in slow motion.

We turn into the female version of Ted Mosby.

But for some, it doesn’t just happen. We see our friends marry their high school or college sweethearts. We see our sisters date the good Christian boy from church. We begin to question ourselves. Why isn’t it happening for us? What am I missing? What’s wrong with me?

I’m guilty of looking at finding a guy, the guy, as a rite of passage. I have my degree. I’ve done some traveling. I’ve taken risks, made some mistakes, and probably screwed up my credit, so where’s the guy? I’m here at twenty-four, ready to meet my Mr. Forever, but he’s nowhere to be found. The man who is destined for me, supposed to complete me, the other half of my soul seems to be playing the ultimate game of hide and seek.

And I don’t know what I’ve done wrong.

The thing is, technically I haven’t done anything wrong. But I have approached it all wrong. Unfairly, I looked at my future husband as some sort of hero-meets-knight-in-shining-armor-meets-Mr. Darcy-slash-Ironman. He is the epitome, the ultimate, my crowning achievement. He’s what I deserve after my years of patience, my years of singleness. He’s my other and better half.

Only he isn’t. He isn’t an object to be won, or a cure-all for my loneliness.

My mistake as I see it now is thinking that I’m somehow lacking because I haven’t found the guy, that being single means I’m under construction; that I’m missing some essential piece to the puzzle that is my heart and soul.

Not having a man doesn’t mean I’m anything less. It doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with me. It doesn’t mean I’m incomplete, unfinished, or half of a person. Having a guy isn’t going to solve all my problems, fix my insecurities, or bring untold and uninterrupted happiness. That isn’t his job. And it’s a bit unfair to put that on an imperfect and flawed man.

But I can put that on God. I can seek Him and be made absolute. He is the piece that my heart and soul require. I’m made complete in Christ; in His grace, mercy, and salvation I am made anew. To live with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit within me means I am whole—I’m wholly His and wholly finished.

I’m not deficient, defective, or broken. I’m not empty or alone.

I’m the best I can be.

Finding the right man should be about finding the guy I can be my best with. It shouldn’t be about finding the guy can improve or fix me. It should be about finding the guy who lets me be the wholly finished creation that God made me and challenges me to grow in Christ, and not about finding the guy who wants to make me into something else or makes me want to compromise who I am.

So I sit at my quiet table, and I accept the aloneness. I accept that I am single. I accept that I haven’t met the right man not because I’m broken, but because I’m not ready. I accept that having the right guy come into my life isn’t something I deserve, but a gift that God gives me. I accept that one day God will bless me with the man I’m meant to marry.

I accept that until then, I’ll be the single girl drinking an Italian soda in the coffee shop beside an empty chair.

And I revel in the fact that regardless of how my love life plays out, I am complete in Christ, in His presence and in His love.

Thank you for reading! And maybe (definitely) follow me on Twitter >> @cassiclerget.
I’m pretty entertaining.