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Romance: The Sharing of a Grand Adventure

February 18, 2011

I dislike the modern use of the word “romance.” It means so little, sounds so hollow, feels so cheap.

February is supposed to be the “month of romance.” And while I want my loved ones to feel loved, I don’t buy society’s watered-down version.

Rather, I believe the core of romance is the “sharing of a grand adventure” – this includes challenges and trials, struggle and fatigue and loss, courage, perseverance, faith, hope and victory; set against the backdrop of God’s incredible creation, and interaction with people willing to stretch and risk.

Men yearn for it in their hearts; that’s why certain pieces of literature and film work so well. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” immediately comes to mind as a fictional romance, whereas the travel writings of Richard Halliburton portrays a different side to the equation. In both situations the reader vicariously enters the larger ideal. That’s why following sporting events can be so attractive; even if all we do is watch, we somehow feel connected to the struggle and victory. Some events, like the Dakar Rally, play this out in a far loftier way than the cut-and-paste environment of stadium sports. Even a child’s playtime reflects the drive for “grand adventure” – at least it did before our Western culture went soft through “political correctness” and “risk-free” safe-play. The alternative? Stay inside and “live” through a joystick.

Business interests, hobbies, and other personal passions – including physical activities and even the quest for knowledge – should all be part of a romance. The danger lies, however, in fixating on what stimulates us; for if all we do is “live for the moment,” we’ve lost sight of the true scope of the adventure. Yes! Enjoy the challenge and triumph of the moment, but do not let it become an idol. And do not forget that “times of rest,” the mundane, and even the bland fits within the panorama. Furthermore, if “self” is the focus, then we’ve missed it: the sharing of a grand adventure is antithetical to a me-only orientation.

All of this said, our relationship with God should be a romance; Paul’s writing in the book of Philippians is a beautiful illustration. Marriage, too, works best in this high context – the joint partaking of a grand adventure. Indeed, life lived and life shared with an eternal perspective is a life of real romance.

Go beyond the vicarious; go beyond the moment. Live.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 19, 2011 2:09 pm

    Yes, I agree. Romance = a shared adventure working towards a mutual goal. Sounds mundane when phrased like this. But nothing is more satisfying than teaming up with the one you love and moving forward 🙂

  2. December 9, 2011 5:56 pm

    Very good. Even the etymology of the word “Romantic” is connotative of adventure. Though some sources believe it also relates to the Romans “carrying off tactics”… all the more reason to dislike the modern use of the word. Restating the adventure is a great way to redeem the term.

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