Just before leaving for Ireland, my friends and I watched Leap Year and P.S. I Love You, two romcoms (well, the latter more a cry fest than anything else) centered on finding love on the Emerald Isle. So, naturally, all of my friends became utterly convinced that I, too, would discover the love of my life in unlikely (but hilarious) circumstances among the Irish men.
^OBVIOUSLY LOVE IS BOUND TO HAPPEN, AM I RIGHT?
Even when I arrived at the school I attended for the semester, the campus minister (a priest no less!) encouraged to me to find, and I quote directly, “A wild Irish man.” I kid you not.
While away, many people asked whether I had met someone. My mother was terrified that I’d meet someone and never come back home.
Apparently, my current lack of love life had people wondering about my time abroad in a romantic country of rolling hills and dramatic castles.
The people I spend time with have clearly watched too many romantic comedies, and wanted my life to take the route of a typical romantic plot line. I hate to disappoint, but there were no chance meetings, no being asked about my favorite Jane Austen novel in a bookstore, no beautiful Irish men with beautiful Irish brogues wanting to playfully argue with me. None of that.
Obviously, my semester abroad was a complete waste because I didn’t find a man.
And so my little heart follows the lines of a beloved Disney movie saying:
Because it seems to me that nowadays many people equate finding the love of your life with the beginning of said life.
But why is this? Yes, finding someone special is beautiful and significant and could potentially be your life vocation. Love is GOOD. It is so, so good, which is why my friends wanted me to find it with a man with an awesome Irish brogue. They want what’s good for me – and love, in its truest meaning, is not fiery passion or sweet butterflies, but willing the good of another person. My friends want me to find someone who wills for my good! That is amazing, and that’s also true friendship. Plus, all the cute couple-y things are a bonus. However, life does not begin and end in finding a boyfriend.
In a month, I will be 21 years old. I have had many ups, downs, heartaches, sorrows, joys, friendships, trips, self-discoveries, pursuits of truth, bouts of laughter and of tears, and many a prayerful reflection in these 21 years. My life began a long time ago. And in the last three years, I have grown so much more than I ever thought possible. I have taken classes from brilliant professors. I have developed and strengthened beautiful and enduring friendships. I have bonded with an extraordinary community on campus. I have studied abroad, inside and outside of a classroom. I have become more comfortable and more confident in myself.
Most importantly, I have drawn nearer and nearer to the One by whom and for whom my heart was made.No, I did not find a wild Irish man in Ireland. But I discovered ever more intimately the God-Man: Jesus Christ.
No, Jesus is not my boyfriend. I feel that is a tacky and limiting way to describe a relationship with Him. He is the Romancer and Keeper of my heart. And He is also the King of the Universe. He is the Good Shepherd. And He smells like this silly little sheep. He is the Word, the Logos. And He is the Nazorean. He is the Savior. And He has forgiven me. He is all this and more, so how could I limit the One who is limitless?
In leaving all I knew behind, I came to depend more on Him, and so much less on my stubborn self. He sustained me in my loneliness, and rejoiced with me in my triumphs. He poured grace upon grace on me as I both clung to Him and fell flat on my face. He gave me the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of His servants both loving and deceased that I might ascend further the ladder of holiness. I drew near to Him, and He drew me close to His most Sacred Heart.
So I rest now near His Sacred Heart, not throwing a pity party that He didn’t direct me to an attractive Irish man, but rejoicing that He has drawn me ever nearer Him.
Maybe my life is a romantic comedy after all, but not in the modern romcom way. After many a fumble and trial on my part, God willing, the guy will get the girl….to Heaven, to the Beatific Vision with Him.
May God bless you on your way!