by the gazelles and by the does of the field:
Do not arouse or awaken love
until it so desires.
—Song of Songs 2:7; 3:5
I've read others' reflections on this passage before. Personally, I haven't done my homework and don't know what it means. I include it, from my morning reading, because I'm becoming aware that I understand romantic love less and less.
I can count the times I've been in love on the fingers on one hand and have a couple to spare. That kind of love is rare and lingering. Not of the mindset to deny that I was in love simply because these relationships didn't work out. I know better.
Past loves and their losses have hung with me for years. That feeling is far more native to my heart than anything else of love. The delight lovers take in one another is foreign. To imagine this delight taken in me is simply absurd.
There are reservations about romantic love, deviations from the norm, that I believe may be healthy and wise. Though God may see fit to give my heart to another, and hers to me, the ownership of those hearts remains His. A woman could be my helper, my partner, my lover, but the position of my first love, my all-in-all, is already occupied, by grace. Long ago, a love and I agreed that we must always be able to live without each other. It is good that we did.
Yet I fear becoming calloused to love of this kind. I recognize the limits my failure to comprehend may place on my ability to experience God's love, and thus, also, to express it. I dare make no pretense that God is anything but a passionate pursuer, a wild lover. It disturbs me to realize that my frame of reference for this may be becoming lifeless, bitter, or dark.
Perhaps it is not time for me to understand. Central to my experience of love is truly awful, impossible timing and circumstance. I have known love too soon, too little, and too late. I've no intent of closing the door, but it grows harder to imagine as my heart grows older. He's made no promise of a wife— only of Himself.
Perhaps I should be afraid. Yet His wildness can make anything happen, at any time, and I hope I would be better able, with my love, to keep our love for Him preeminent.
(But even writing all of this makes me feel sick to my stomach with a knot of emotions I cannot, dare not untangle. I'm tired of being so messed up.)