I am an overly sentimental person. Well, “overly” may be debatable, but certainly highly sentimental. For years I viewed this as a negative trait: something that just brought up sad memories at inconvenient times or ruined songs that I used to love. However, in the last two weeks I have changed my mind about being sentimental. I think it rules. This change has been brought on by recent hours of conversations with a friend who finds her heart to be in the same state as mine.
You see, I had a few plans for my life. Not a million, but a few. A few I thought were very much in line with God. I had these plans drawn out nice and neatly in a metaphorical moleskine notebook and when I went to show God how orderly and lovely all these plans were He gently but authoritatively crumpled them up and threw them into a trashcan. Not because these ambitions were evil or sinful or completely selfish. Just because they weren’t His. I wrote in a note to a friend recently that God reserves the right to break us and rearrange our plans. I sort of wished I hadn’t written that note of encouragement because God reminded me of those words. He reserves the right. My life is His and not because He insists it is but because I gave it to Him. And with it the right to laugh at the way I cling to my future.
And as I mentioned, a beautiful friend of mine finds herself in the same spot. I think most people find themselves in this spot at some point. It’s the plight of being a christian, and it’s beneficial. That God brought me a friend to cry with and wonder with and pray with is only evidence that He loves me and is excited to pull me together (because Lord knows I can’t pull myself) and do wonderful things with my life. Going through such emotional chapters together has brought the two of us so much closer than we were two weeks ago. If that’s the only good that comes out of all this mess then it already isn’t a waste. Our conversations began solely with tears. But then, God healed. Suddenly there was laughter. Laughter paired with frustration at times, but laughter all the same and clearer glasses to see the remarkable things God had done in our hearts. While venturing into a deeper and deeper friendship we discovered that we were both, as stated, highly sentimental. Like I said, I had always viewed my sentimentalism as a mushy and irritating trait, but when I saw it being expressed in this friend I loved it. I LOVED it. I loved that she cherished moments and places and songs and people. I loved that she remembered such little details and was hurt when others didn’t. Yes, there’s pain in being sentimental. It stings when others don’t remember heart to hearts you once had. And it’s true that I find it maddeningly inconvenient that there are certain restaurants I no longer go to because of the memories I attached to them, and art museums that have forever been spoiled. But! But! I have seen how beautiful it can be. To choose to be fully vulnerable and embracing of every moment is exceptionally lovely. Especially in romantic relationships. Her and I both have yet to find men who cherish our sentimentalism but dang, when that happens. When she finds a man who remembers the way she danced along the pier and remarks how lovely she was when she was being herself… that’ll be a good day. That’ll be a day I hope she calls me and giggles in her joy. It’ll be a day we’ll probably both always remember and journal about and attach a song to because we’re that sentimental.
So what are the consequences of sentiment? Well, there’s tough ones like the fact that your favorite Avett Brothers song can be ruined. But there’s really great ones too: you get to remember very specific moments of beauty. You get to be reminded of the fact that God didn’t have to let us have laughter or communal prayer or best friends or the feeling of falling in love. I always liked what Donald Miller wrote about falling in love: “When I was in love there was somebody in the world who was more important than me, and that, given all that happened at the fall of man, is a miracle, like something God forgot to curse.” (don’t mistake my quoting him as backing up every book he’s written, by the way.)
Stoicism can be charming, but show me a woman who isn’t ashamed of the creature God made her or afraid to embrace every happy moment she can and I’ll show you a woman worth cherishing.