Lost in Austen…found in Love.

Emma & Knightley from the BBC Adaptation of EmmaJane Austen.  One of the finest writers of the English language is now creeping into the fabric of my life like a welcomed infection.  Welcomed, due to her innate knowledge of the human heart, yet infected – like a cold – as I know she will only lead me to a melancholy state, and fill me with a listlessness that stirs the romance buried deep within my wretched human heart.

Ironically I have sat, watched and read her masterpieces, been stirred by the romance and turmoil of them all, and had it not been for my overwhelming peace from a love like no other, I would most certainly find myself at a desperate end.  Reading Jane Austen is, without doubt, a unique experience.  I feel she is much like Marmite.  You either love her, or you hate her…but I truly think that those who choose to hate her, are merely those who cannot handle the anguish from the stirring of the heart that Jane so readily enables.

I am single, divorced and happy.  I appreciate that, in Jane’s day, at the ripe old age of 34 (almost 35) I would be destitute and most severely scandalised for my past behaviour, however I am blessed, in that I am recovered and restored in a way that not everyone experiences, and living in an age where mistakes such as failed marriage are now cast aside as a mere moment in ones history that no longer affects our standing in society.

I have, to be honest, never had much of a standing in society, but I am now finally at a place of peace with my single status and find this standing enough when I need it.  I may not yet have found the love of a Gentleman, but I do know a love that is stronger than that of any Mr Darcy & Miss Bennett or Emma & her Knightley, and one that will last my lifetime and beyond, which will not only satisfy the yearning of my human heart but has power to break chains that would altogether be unbreakable without it.

I speak of a love that we all search for.  A love that was meant for us from the beginning of time.  A love that is freely offered and willingly given, not earned or bought or exchanged.  A love like no other.  Most of us seek it in the form of a partner, husband, wife, or lover.  We associate it with sex, and our emotions.  We seek it in all manner of places. And when it is broken or taken away we find solace in the bottom of a bottle, the destructive form of a drug or the bed of a stranger.  Hoping that the pain and loss of such a love will be forgotten should we consume enough to erase the memories of bad decisions we so easily make.  I can safely say without hesitation that this is NOT the answer we seek.

We easily give away pieces of our heart without thought of the consequences.  Our recipe for fulfilment is one of a heightened confidence through the consumption of a little tipple, we dress ourselves up beyond recognition in order to catch the sight of a potential partner, in the hopes that he or she will satisfy our empty heart and that “if we are lucky” we will impress them with our bodies, entice them with our “tricks” and ensnare them long enough for them to become a ‘life-partner’, husband or wife.  The irony is that most of these moments end as swiftly as they began but each time, our hearts become more and more damaged, and unable to withstand a worthwhile love when it finally comes along.  The sad fact is that – unbeknown to us, every moment we give a little of our hearts away – we are slowly destroying our most precious possession.  And we often don’t even notice the damage we are doing.  Only when we reach a state of hopelessness do we discover how very broken our hearts have become.  And for some, this is too late.  Tragically late.

The lesson to be learned by so many of us is that our hearts are fragile things.  They should be tended to with the utmost respect.  Not flippantly given away in exchange for a moment of physical ecstasy that may or may not be faked and certainly won’t last.  I myself found what I thought I was looking for in the form of a relationship.  I married an ambitious and intelligent man who worked hard and doted on me.  However the relationship was dramatically flawed, based on hedonism, and broke down after only a few years of “wedded bliss”.  I was still searching for something to fulfil my heart and thought I would find this in a man.  I now know I was wrong.  The love I was looking for is not of this earth.  It is a heavenly love, only found through the complete self-sacrifice of one man who once walked this earth and died at the hands of his very own people.  The love of Jesus is the only love that will satisfy our hearts completely.  I know not of any drug I have taken that will fulfil me, of any drink that will quench my thirst, or any man that ever truly satisfied me, compared to the overwhelming gracious love of Jesus Christ who died a horrific death, so that my mistakes and your mistakes could be granted a forgiveness that none deserve.

So, having watched the story of Jane Austen’s life, ‘Becoming Jane’, I find myself strangely comforted at the truth of my single life, not being that I am lucky that I don’t suffer the situation Jane did, being in love with a man who reciprocates this love but is unable to marry due to circumstance.  No, I am comforted solely through the very fact that I know whatever stirring Jane may have had upon my heart, the truth of Jesus and his love for me, is the only antidote that satisfies me.  To find a Gentleman who loves Jesus a little more than he would love me is in actual fact the only relationship I am willing to surrender my heart to.  Strange you may think, but I know the power of such a love and one day I know I will experience this.  And until then, I rest assured in the love I receive from Jesus and embrace every day with the fulfilment that only those who have experienced this love of Jesus, will understand.

I pray whoever finds themselves reading this Blog will find this love I speak of.  The love that restores, refreshes and refines.  A love that is found through the one and only Jesus Christ.  xxx

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