I love you with the love of Christ.
My friend Ryan has heard this declaration several times in his life. You know enough of the context in which this declaration is made to know that it is no declaration.
Ryan is a very, very nice guy and a hopeless romantic. That is not to say he makes loud, grand gestures of affection. I’d call him the strong, silent type.
Once, he and I happened to meet in London because he and I were hopelessly in love with two girls (one each) who threatened to have our hearts for breakfast daily. His girl was in love with someone else, and my girl was in love with herself and no one else. What he did in response to his girl’s new man remains one of the better gestures of selflessness I’ve seen.
His girl, who was hitherto his long-distance girlfriend (Ipoh-Sydney) until she went to Cambridge to read law and become a slut, fell in love with another man who, of course, reciprocated in ways her limited provincial experience hadn’t shown her before. He bought her a bunch of flowers one day.
How did Ryan respond? He went out and bought a vase for the flowers. She cried buckets of course. But that was about as contrite as she would get. She then loved him with the love of Christ.
Over the years, Ryan has been showered with enough love of Christ to last several generations. Bit like having so much Christmas spirit you just wanna throw up. I feared the worst when earlier this year, he called to say he had met a girl, several years his junior, and who attended church very regularly, meaning not just every Sunday, but you know, those fun fair food fair raffle things too.
This girl, Beth, threatened to love him with the love of Christ too, at first. But thankfully for Ryan, the allure of being the older, wiser man worked in his favour for the first time in his life, and over the last half year, after attending church every Sunday plus helping out with her church’s food and fun fair, she’s apparently finally relented, and was last heard referring to Ryan as her boyfriend. They went to Bali together last month, and I am certain not too much time was spent poring over Bible passages there.
Ryan came down to Singapore without Beth last week, but judging from his contented cat demeanour, things between them look good. There was no furtive SMSing, no checking for missed calls, no phone calls which required going out to the balcony for privacy. It was all relaxed, all open, all sweet.
Not bad for a guy who’s so full of Jesus’ love he could be beatified.
I wish you both well, Ryan and Beth.