Some things make you feel just a little more alive.
Hearing a song that moves you. Helping someone in need. Reading words that make you cry. Seeing a sunset splash the sky with breath-taking colors.
This feeling is multiplied immeasurably if you are sharing those experiences with someone you love. Indeed, love makes everything complete, including us as human beings.
Do you remember your first powerful encounter with “falling in love?” Even though it happened decades ago, I never will forget how that felt for me. I had my first job out of college as the sports editor of the daily newspaper in Sedalia, Mo. Donna was still in college and living in St. Peters, Mo., a good three-hour drive from Sedalia. We had met on a Teens Encounter Christ retreat and over the next few months became friends.
I was homesick and lonely in Sedalia, where I was working long hours and didn’t know anyone. So I kept in close touch with friends back in the St. Louis area the best I could. And I was smitten by Donna.
I asked her out — in a letter. That seemed pretty safe to me! She said, “Yes!” My life never has been the same since then.
Something special happened. We talked about each other all the time. I know I thought about her all the time. I missed home a great deal, but I was happy because I was writing for money (such as it was) and I was in love. I looked at the world in a whole new way. Colors were brighter, life was more fun. It didn’t matter what I was doing as long as I was doing it with her.
I still acted selfishly at times — love doesn’t turn you into a perfect person — but that love at least was always in the back of my mind. It made me a better person.
All of our kids are adults now, three still in their 20s, just the age Donna and I were when we fell in love. I often have prayed that they would be blessed with the same joyful giddiness that we experienced.
I also often pray that my children would fall in love with Jesus. Do you ever pray for that — for yourself as well as for others?
Falling completely head-over-heels in love with the Lord feels much the same as what men and women experience together. There is an indescribable joy. I remember when I first felt that way. I was in my late teens, and it caused me to look at the world in a whole new way. Colors were brighter. Life was more fun. I still acted selfishly at times, but it made me a better person — or at least made me want to be one.
“Don’t concern yourself with anything but the Lord,” the late spiritual writer Father Henri Nouwen used to tell people. “Ask yourself, ‘What has this to do with the Lord?’ and if the answer is ‘nothing,’ then just drop it.”
What could be better than falling in love with Jesus — or falling in love with Him again, if it already has happened for you once? The love between a couple has stages and doesn’t always retain that initial lightheaded feeling, and the same can happen in our relationship with Christ. Over time we can go through certain motions, including Mass and prayer, without our hearts being completely captivated.
After a while other things take the focus of our attention. We make time for so many non-spiritual things in life. I can spend a whole day looking forward to watching a three-hour St. Louis Cardinals baseball game on TV. I never would think of missing lunch or dinner.
Yet some days I don’t take 15 minutes to read scripture or 20 minutes to pray the rosary. Being in love with Jesus would motivate us to make time and appointments with Him.
Time to just be with Him, to read letters from Him, to listen to Him pour out His love for you. You will talk about Him more often with others. You will think about Him constantly. The world won’t look the same if you would give Him your heart.
Trust me: Jesus, giddy in expectation, already is head over heels crazy for you.