I have my own morning routine. I wake up at 5:00, say a little prayer, do some stretching and eventually sit at my chair outside my room. I spend 10-15 minutes in silence sipping a hot cup of coffee, while watching the usual scenery in front of me. One of those ordinary mornings, I notice two birds hopping and flying to one twig to another as if they were running after each other showing affection and love. It amazed me how unique this little creature expresses their instinctive love to one another. With such experience of wonder, I was moved to write this article.
Why do people fall in love? How does it feel to fall in love? What are the dynamics of loving? Silly questions yet quite significant, isn’t it?
Falling in love is basically an experience of abrupt eruption of feelings. Like birds, human instinct operates dictating the person that something is going–on deep inside. Perhaps, a simple wicked of an eye or a shy-looking–smile is quite enough to commensurate with the oozing flow of emotion.
Falling in love needs an element of knowing. An initial feeling seeks for more and a serious attempt to know the person might be of great help. The more you know the person whom you love, the more that love grows. Knowing here does not only mean knowing his/her personal background but most importantly grasping appropriate knowledge of what pleases the beloved. As the relationship grows both parties concern in knowing their unique attitudinal behavior wherein both of them willfully unmask themselves showing who they really are. Falling in love, at this stage, is not so much of condition but rather of position. No more “if’s”, no more “because” but simply “I love you for who and what you are”.
Falling in love is an investment of time. When someone is so in love with the significant others time really matters. There is abrupt shift of interest and priorities especially in using his/her time. Routines in life become disorder because of the time being snatched by the subject of that love. Texting and phone calls becomes frequent and most often than not, that person would just wake up one morning realizing that a day would be so incomplete without sending a simple : -D ; J or m****h!
Falling in love is discovering who you really are. Constant bonding with your partner becomes an opportunity of gradually discovery of one’s unique self. When you are together, there were things, places, music, food, etc that pleases your partner but contrary to your taste. Furthermore, if you look back to your precious relationships you would discover some significant similarities/patterns (it may be physical appearance or attitude) that are common to all individuals which you have previous relationship with. Rationally and emotionally, you have your own reasonable stand why you always fall into those qualities and that shows your partial identity as a sexual being.
A true test of genuine love is when a person continues to decide to love even if at some point in their relationship, the union of two hearts becomes dry and insipid. Normally, we express our feelings and show our love to our partner with a motivation to make our loved one happy. But unconsciously, we want to be romantic and sweet not solely because we want him/her to be happy but for us to supplement what is lacking in our hearts, in other words, we want to fulfill the things we expect for our selfish desire to be happy. It may be painful to accept but in some sense, there might be some degree of truth in it. Therefore, a true expression of love is doing things not for selfish motivation but for the beloved to be happy even if you don’t like it, even if it is meaningless, dry and insipid. You do it because you love.
Falling in love entails vulnerability. The moment you start to disclose yourself to someone is also a moment of allowing yourself to be weak and defenseless before others. In some sense, loving is risking. Though we are fully aware with such pitfall, we still decide to fall in love because we want to commit and allow ourselves to learn how to handle mature relationship. A person, who takes risk, is a person who knows how to decide and a person, who knows how to decide, is a person who is ready to commit and a person, who is committed to his/her decision is a mark of a mature individual.
This is what it takes to be a priest. A person who knows (others really experience) how is it to fall in love, initially may have the capacity to answer the call of the priesthood. For some (me, especially) the desire to embrace priesthood starts with a simple feeling of curiosity and that inquisitive sense produces some degree of knowing what priesthood is all about. It won’t just stop there; reaching priestly ordination needs an ample time of preparation. It takes a decade and beyond to produce just one priest and with that long period of seminary formation, the candidate would not only learn and inherit ecclesiastical dogmas and doctrines of the church but more so with his personhood, that is, to be in touch with his own psychological dynamics.
At times, loneliness in the formation dominates where usual things become meaningless and prayer life become so dry but life must still go on. What is important is the capacity to acknowledge and accept such feelings and find ways to conquer it. Mind you, in all state of life, loneliness would eventually come at some point in time. What is essential is that, we are able to know the art of dancing with such feelings with beauty and grace.
In closing, a seminarian can be considered as a public icon. With the nature of our formation, we always found ourselves into a situation that is new to us. Plunge into the realm of the unknown yet challenge to stand out amidst difficulty. With much desire to give more that what is expected from us for the good of the community where we are serving still we could hear unjust criticism, biases and humiliation. We become vulnerable and weak hearing those negative comments but we still continue to serve. People may have generics to label us but that is not all, we are not define with what people think who we are. We have our individual potentialities that are yet to be exhausted and most importantly God’s grace is always working miraculously for us to be faithful to Him.
We take risk, we decide, we commit because we fall in love with Him.