I’ve been single for 46 years. This isn’t really my choice, but it is my reality. Part of my personality is to analyze and over think things as I shared in this post. My love life has not been exempt from this habit of analysis paralysis. I was talking to a friend of mine at work the other day and she said something that was eye-opening to me and really shed some light on the way that I have always approached relationships.
She told me the story about the time when she was a little girl. She begged for a pet. Her parents got her this kitten and she was so excited. She was so happy to have this new little feline friend that she wanted to spend all of her time with it. She wanted to hold it, to pet it, to dress it up, and to have it return her abundant amount of affection. The only problem? The kitten was overwhelmed. It was terrified and wanted nothing to do with this little girl. It wrenched free of her affectionate grip and found refuge under the recesses of the little girl’s bed. Crouching in the farthest corner, the kitten was terrified and shaking. And my friend, chased the cat…trying to make the little animal love her back, but all the kitty wanted to do was to escape. My friend was heart-broken. She just wanted to love the kitten. She wanted to have the kitten love her back. She envisioned a playmate and life-long friend, but the kitten was in a new place, with new people and the only thing it saw was an invasion. What my friend didn’t know was that the best way to approach a cat is to relax and go about your business. The cat will come to you.
So, what does this have to do with finding love? Well, the fact is that people are more like that little kitten when it comes to romance than many of us realize. At least more than I realize. About a year ago, I did some soul-searching and ending up fighting with God about the whole me still being single thing. At the end of everything, I decided to move forward and approached finding love with a kind of military attack strategy. I joined an online dating site. Now I don’t know about you, but when I realize that my current approach is not working, I have a tendency to swing, like a pendulum, in the complete opposite direction. So instead of being shy and retiring, I started barreling in head and heart first. In short, I was chasing the cat.
And just like that little kitten of my friend’s, the men that I met ran for the corner! Understandably. I was simply overwhelming them with my desire for a relationship. And like my friend, I was heartbroken when they ran the other way. And just like my friend, I didn’t understand. Until she told me her story. All of a sudden, I realized what I had been doing. In my zeal for love and relationship that might lead marriage, I was being pushy.
I think that a lot of people fall into that trap. We are so hungry to find love that we throw ourselves at the person we’re interested in. We smother them with attention and affection thinking that our enthusiasm will translate to becoming a couple. I wonder how many others are seeing this truth for the first time, too.
You know, when I was younger and so confused about why I was still single, I would ask my older, married friends for insight. They would all invariably say, “When you’re not looking for it, love will find you.” That used to really make me angry. I couldn’t see the truth in their wisdom. I thought, “Pssh! Easy for you to say…You’re married!” I thought, “I’ll never not be looking for love.” But I think that I finally understand. What they were saying is don’t try so hard. Don’t push. Don’t chase the cat. If you will relax and be yourself, when love is ready, it will find you.
I think that the bride in Song of Solomon has said it best. This Biblical tome is all about the affections shared between two lovers. It doesn’t get a lot of pulpit time, but maybe it should. There are real nuggets of wisdom all throughout. The beloved bride issues a challenge to women who are longing for romantic love. In this very short book she says no less than three times,
“Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you by the gazelles and by the does of the field: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.”
Even then, she was telling us what my friend learned what the woman in the Song of Solomon was trying to say. If you are interested in finding love? Don’t chase the cat!