I apologize in advance for this being long. Please bear with me…
It is a truth universally acknowledged that it is hard to wait. (Pride and Prejudice reference…) It’s not just a truth universally acknowledged; it is a painful truth. We began the season of Advent a few days ago, which means that Christmas is coming. It means that we must wait in great expectation for the coming of the Lord and of course our beloved Christmas celebrations. As a child, waiting for Christmas was painful. I tried my best to remember the reason for the season, but to be honest I think I was more excited for the holiday than the birth of our savior. There was just so much to look forward to and so much anticipation that came with that.
Italians party hard on Christmas Eve. They call it the Feast of the Seven Fishes (for lack of a better translation), which essentially means a long night of eating. Every year I could NOT wait for the Christmas Eve food, the family time, the leaving out of cookies and milk, and the excitement that came from wondering what Santa would bring me. When I say that I could not wait, I mean I thought my heart would explode in anxious anticipation. To put it simply—I loved Christmas.
Perhaps I was just an intense child, but this anticipation permeated many aspects of my life, most notably, the area of love. Yes, I was one of the little girls that planned her wedding many times before the age of fifteen. I was obsessed with love and I anxiously anticipated (emphasis on anxiously) the day I would meet my Mr. Darcy and live happily ever after. I am what you would call an old soul. As a teenager I was too old for the body I was in and consequently didn’t find the guys in my small town to live up to my Pride and Prejudice expectations. To put it bluntly, I didn’t date in high school. Obviously, this meant that my prince awaited me in college.
It is hard to wait. It is very hard to wait. I did meet a guy in college. He was trying to find his way and follow the Lord and I was trying to do the same while dying to fall in love. I just wanted to be loved and love someone in return. That was all it really came down to. We were young. Although he was the first guy I ever dated, I thought he was the one. Sure there were some red flags or things I was hesitant about. At that time I wouldn’t have admitted that, though. I know my friends thought he wasn’t right for me and I knew my parents thought the same, but I disagreed. “They don’t really know him like I do.” He took advantage of the fact that I wanted to love him, he told me he wanted to marry me, he said he loved me, and he told me I was beautiful. I desired so much to be loved that I overlooked many things and made decisions based on feelings.
Long story short—we broke up. And I—was devastated. (I can’t think of a better word, but it was worse than devastated.) I was so incredibly broken. You know why? I didn’t then, but I do now. I was so broken because I thought it was this guy that could make me happy. I put him before the Lord. I didn’t trust or believe that God could fulfill the deepest desires of my heart. If only I would have heard this quote from JPII. Actually, I probably wouldn’t have listened, but it is a very good quote!
It is Jesus in fact that you seek when you dream of happiness; he is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you; he is the beauty to which you are so attracted; it is he who provokes you with that thirst for fullness that will not let you settle for compromise; it is he who urges you to shed the masks of a false life; it is he who reads in your hearts your most genuine choices, the choices that others try to stifle. It is Jesus who stirs in you the desire to do something great with your lives, the will to follow an ideal, the refusal to allow yourselves to be grounded down by mediocrity, the courage to commit yourselves humbly and patiently to improving yourselves and society, making the world more human and more fraternal. –Saint John Paul the Great
Give your heart over to the Lord. He will fill you. He will make you feel more loved than any man has the ability to. Let him lead you to where He wants you to go. Be brave. Do not be afraid of letting go of the guy you are with if you know he is not the one. Ask your friends and family if you are unsure. If you have good friends, they will likely know. Do not settle for less than you deserve. Trust with all your heart that the Lord has a plan for your life. Try to find the goodness in where you are in this moment. There is always more to yearn and long for on this side of eternity. It is Jesus that you seek when you dream of happiness. Be His. Fall in love with Him this Advent.
Image via Melanie Reyes Photography