Our deepest human need is not material at all. Our deepest need is to be seen. We need adventure, we need meaning, we need identity. We need love. Someone who has seen us through loving eyes has awakened us from the ranks of the formerly dead. Most people bear the terminal stress of walking the world unseen, a mere number or cog in a lifeless machine. Love, when it is a sacred quest, is a space of resurrection and repair. It does more than help us survive a soulless world; it helps us to transform.

The problem with most intimate relationships is that they are not romantic. They do not involve a deeper knowing, and thus there is diminished possibility of sacred, transformative sharing. To be truly seen and understood –in all our innocence and glory and yes, our brokenness, too – is to be delivered into the spiritual ethers where both seen and seer are healed.

Many people say they’re looking for love, yet they’re actually committed to never finding it. Many people would really rather not know the true scars and triumphs of the person who lies in their arms. Many people who say they’re looking for love are merely looking for superficial comfort. They’re not looking yet for the true romantic adventure. For that entails a readiness to die to who we were, in order to be born again prepared for love, truly worthy of the romantic heights. Real love is comforting, to be sure, but not always at first. To become romantic artists, we must pierce the armor that hides our hearts, and the piercing is not comfortable. It can take years of tears to melt the hardness that develops in this world, covering our tender, gentler inner selves. Tears for every devastating loss, tears for every humiliating failure, tears for every repeated mistake. Those who honor those tears, and even honor them, are not failures at love but rather its true initiates. First the pain and then the power. First the heart breaks and then it soars.

Love will push every button, try every faith, challenge every strength, trigger every weakness, mock every value, and then leave you there to die. And then you will be ready to be born at last, to become a soul who is strong enough to take love on. You’ll be a romantic mystic who has achieved the elements: you endured the flames of love, you were baptized in the waters of love, and now you can soar like only a mystic can through the skies and skin of a lover’s heart.

The Enchanted Lover’s Prayer

Dear God,

I want to be lovable

And prepared for a beloved.

Please remove the walls

From in front of my heart,

And take from me the games I play

To deny myself the joy of life.

Please make me new,

That I might know an enchanted love at last.

Then send to me my heart’s delight.

Please open up the skies of heaven

That love might flood my soul.

Amen.

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