My Drama Mama,
When I wrote last about the difference between passion and love, I made the observation that as humans, we tend to desire love, but to pursue the rush that comes from passion. Today, I want to make another observation that builds off of that point.
First of all, please know that both this letter and my last come out of my brokenness, and are a part of my penitent repentance. I am guilty of having pursued women because they made my head go fuzzy enough to ignore all of the signs that we weren’t compatible for a long term relationship. I am guilty of the topic for today: confusing the chemical rush of relationship drama for the intensity of passion, and even supplementing the waning passion with escalating drama so I can feel the same intensity.
It works. There is a rush of feeling that comes from drama. Fighting so that powerful anger can turn to powerful attraction and passion when the fight is resolved, wallowing in unfortunate circumstance so that grief can mimic the high we need, staying in bad situations because of a need for the intensity they grant. We all do it at certain points in our relationships. And some of us become addicted (or date someone who is addicted) to this drama.
It isn’t helped by Hollywood and stories. We are taught from Disney to Shakespeare that the purest kind of true love is that which is fraught with drama. Romeo and Juliet cannot be together nor express their lust (read the play, it isn’t love). Ariel knows she is in love because she suffers from afar her longing for Eric (about whom she really knows nothing). The love stories we grow up with portray love as coming about through (or in spite of) extraordinary circumstances.
Can I just say: I don’t want that. I am glad for people that find love in the midst of difficult circumstances, but I want a nice, quiet, relaxed relationship free of as much internal drama as possible, eventually a marriage as smooth as I can get it.
I don’t want to live a life free of drama, oh no. I want to live an incredibly externally dramatic life as a part of a greater story. We all need a place in the plot, a purpose to why we live and try and love.
However, there is more than enough drama in the great battle between Jesus and the triple-threat of sin, death, and the devil for me. I am a soldier being shot at as the Kingdom advances. There are beautiful people captives to addictions, destructive patterns of sin, hopelessness and despair who need to know the rescuing love of the Savior Jesus. The great story of God’s redemption has enough drama large and small for my weak frame to handle, and I want to engage as fully as I can in that script.
But that righteous drama is external. Why would I substitute that drama for the drama internal to relationships? I know teenaged girls are typically thought of as poster children for creating drama, but I see adult men doing it in quieter, but no less real ways. We as a species seem to love the rush of emotion that comes from the tempestuous romance. I think there are two reasons for this:
First, I think we habitually seek out the intensity of relationship drama because we are seeking passion and not love in our relationships. When the passion ebbs, we are addicted to the hormonal high that used to be triggered by the other person. We quickly find that we can achieve a similar chemical rush by blowing things out of proportion, fighting over insignificant issues, or letting small feelings run rampant and become big feelings.
Second, I think we believe our life’s story is closer to a fairy tale than an epic. We live as if we are the main characters in the book and our romance is the most important relationship in the story. The Bible, on the other hand, suggests that we are minor (but important) characters in a grand epic that spans the length of time itself; the story of God redeeming his fallen creation. In THAT story, the main character is Jesus, and the most important relationship in our life is the one we have with God.
I know my marriage will be rocky. Partly because I will marry another sinful being and will proceed to drive her nuts. Partly because Satan hates Christians and will try everything to distract us from the real war, and hates marriage in particular and tries to break the godly ones. I hope to keep the context of the great story during those difficulties and fights. I hope to remember that we are all a part of the ongoing redemption of God. I hope to remember that my wife and I are just minor characters in that story, and that we must keep our eyes on Jesus.
In closing, let me leave you with a quote from the Bard himself that reminds me of the greater story in which we get a small scene.
All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts
As You Like It Act 2, Scene 7. W. Shakespeare
Your minor character,
A Christian Guy