By Matt Keppel
The heart wants what the heart wants… but what exactly does it want? I was talking to a friend of mine not long ago about her relationship issues. Maria’s a bright, active, and motivated young woman, yet she tells me that she can’t find a man. Or, at least, she cannot find a man who is willing to be with one woman, and she isn’t willing to settle for anything less. You might think that it’s the type of guys she goes out with, and that may very well be true. You might think that she is also the problem, but based upon my discussions with her (and the fact that I’m writing about this) I do not believe that she is her own problem. I do genuinely believe that she is on the right track, but all the stations on the rails are only minute stops while she is waiting to find Terminus.
First, I would like to encourage others, both men and women, to internalize Maria’s struggle. I know for a fact that she is not alone in this. More and more people are struggling to find a match, someone with whom they want to spend the rest of their lives. The causes, I believe, are many: they range from hypersexualization in the media to the massive increase in broken homes. Though the causes are many, the result is the same: fear and uncertainty.
Men and women my age have grown up in an uncertain world. Long gone are days the unquestioned supremacy of the United States; the dissolution of families has crept into becoming the societal norm; and unemployment is a daily reality rather than the exception. As an American, and a Catholic, I grew up with the belief that families were built upon stability; that the white picket fence was erected as a marker that I had made it. Unfortunately, I step closer and closer to my 30s seeing that as a mirage, a lie that my generation is still coming to terms with today. Maria is experiencing the results of that lie in the dating world: our generation trying to learn this lesson on the fly, seeking out our hearts.
So what does the heart want? This is the question of questions. The answer varies by person and, especially, generation. We don’t often see Mad Men-styled lives this day and age. The two-children, perfect Stepford-wife, and 9-5 job with unlimited whiskey *a moment of silence* are things of museums and amusement. What we have now is far more chaotic, lives full of questions, and bigger dreams with dreamers unwilling to settle for less than what is perfect. The unfortunate part of this new reality is that not everyone lives it with others in mind. It’s almost as if some are living in a panic; as though life were a sinking ship and they are trying to grab every pleasurable experience before they slip beneath the icy waters.
We are inhabitants of a world full of questions and lacking in answers. Yet, we have been trained to believe that every question has a corresponding answer, and we are uncomfortable when none exist, or when they are not apparent. It is this lack of assuredness that drives us seeking for something secure. Whether school, work, or love; we are so desperately trying to hold on to something that doesn’t exist, rather than letting go and opening ourselves up to a world of possibility, a world of questions. This is our great struggle: letting go and allowing the Spirit to take hold. Where do our hearts lead us? Our hearts are restless until the rest in You, Lord.