Exploring the Matter of Romance

     I have a hunch I entered this world with the heart of a hopeless romantic.

     For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a sucker for romance!

     So, my response as a little girl to the Four Preps singing Santa Catalina, the Island of Romance makes total sense. The lyrics of the catchy tune planted a seed that one day I must travel 26 miles across the sea to Santa Catalina.

     After all, how could the heart of a hopeless romantic resist the possibility of “romance, romance, romance, romance!” [1]

     I knew we were going to be in Southern California to attend our granddaughter’s college graduation in June. Because June is our anniversary month, I suggested to Ron we make a side excursion to Catalina Island as part of the trip.

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     More than 50 years after The Four Preps first sang their hit tune, I sailed—well actually, we motored on a big ferry boat—across a stretch of the Pacific from Newport Beach to Avalon, California.

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     Avalon is a quaint touristy town located on the south end of Santa Catalina Island. The streets are filled with little shops and restaurants. Palm trees and cabanas line the crowded, but beautiful beach. Automobiles are limited on Catalina. (Gasoline is over $6.00 a gallon!) Hundreds of folks, however, zip around in golf carts available for tourists to rent.

     We chose to walk. In fact, I set a new Fitbit record for steps taken in Avalon.

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     Since our two-day getaway to this island the Four Preps declared represented ‘Romance X 4,’ I’ve thought a lot about the matter of romance.

     What is romance?

     How does the notion of romance develop and transition in the heart of a hopeless romantic?

     How do thoughts and actions of a little girl born with the heart of a hopeless romantic co-exist with the thoughts and actions of a mature woman who’s committed to becoming a gracious and authentic follower of Jesus Christ?

     As I do often, I consulted My Bible, the dictionary, plus referenced a repertoire of memories to discover answers.

     A verse of Scripture came to mind. Ephesians 5:21 describes Spirit-guided relationships for couples. It begins by instructing husbands and wives to “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”

     The wife of an attractive couple I’ve known for some time was asked the secret of their happy marriage. Her answer exemplifies what Ephesians 5:21 suggests. “I guess,” she said, “we just both try to out-love one another.”

     Mutual submission seeks ways to “out love” the one you’ve pledged your heart to love. It requires commitment and intentionality.

     I found my favorite definition of romance in The Urban Dictionary.[2] (I know. The Bible and the Urban Dictionary are a rather unusual resource combination!) The top definition chosen by this contemporary resource, which was designed to define common cultural slang phrases, says in part:

True romance is doing something special or unexpected for someone you love, even though you don’t have to…Real romance isn’t manufactured. Romance is for showing the person you love that you’re thinking about them…something simple and sweet that reminds your partner why they fell in love with you in the first place.
     

     My husband is a practical sort or fellow, not born with a hopelessly romantic bend! But, throughout our 38 years of marriage, I’ve watched Ron put forth effort to make certain I know he’s thinking about me. The heart he drew in the sand during our Catalina getaway was one of those simple, yet sweet, romantic acts, reminding me I’m married to a good guy!

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     Finally, from my personal memory file, I recalled the romance of an elderly couple who attended the same church as I when I was a new, young wife. They were married as teenagers, and when I met them, were preparing to celebrate their 75th wedding anniversary. I recall the precious sight of the sweet couple holding life-worn, crinkled hands during the church service. Even though they were great grandparents, the obviously-in-love couple often exchanged flirtatious glances.

     One morning, the elderly gentleman carried a cup of coffee to the bedroom. Beginning each day by taking a cup of coffee to his beloved wife was part of his daily routine. That morning, she didn’t waken. Sometime during the night she’d slipped away to her eternal home. The grief-stricken widower joined her a few months later.

     Thoughts of this dear couple remind me romance isn’t reserved only for the young and beautiful. True romance can endure for a lifetime.

     Lifelong romance doesn’t happen merely because of a romantic getaway to a beautiful island in the Pacific—although, surely, that can’t hurt!. The journey of romance lasting a lifetime involves much more than an evening stroll on the beach. This kind of romance requires guts, grit, grace plus a generous dose of God’s goodness.

     That, my friends, is ‘Romance X Infinity,’ and is what the heart of this ‘hopeless romantic’ desires.

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Blessings on your journey…

Sue Reeve

  1. www.oldielyrics.com/lyrics/the_four_preps/26_miles_santa_catalina.html
  2. http://www.urbandictionary.com/ – Urban Dictionary is a crowdsourced online dictionary of slang words and phrases.

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One thought on “Exploring the Matter of Romance

  1. Sue, Glad you had a wonderful time in Catalina
    Island! By brother in law just restored an airplane that was used to shuttle people people to Catalina Island and was owned by Maureen O Hara’s husband. He has been landing it on the lakes around here.
    Trying to plan a time for the old group gals to get together. We now own a condo at Riverstone and frequently pass by your church and think about going in to say hi to you.
    We now attend Candlelight Christian Fellowdhip. Miss you! Anna Pemberton

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