Youth4Him Home

Teenage Sweethearts
Pastor Joe Giacometti ©2002

What is love? Might I suggest to all of you out there under twenty who think you have a good grasp on what exactly love is that you don’t, and you probably won’t for a good long time. In fact I think none of us really realize how insignificant the feelings we believe to be love during our teen years really are. Probably the same for many of us in our young twenties, and for others even thirty or forty. I don’t mean to say that relationships and feelings we may have as teens are not important or aren’t real. That is not the case at all. However, I do believe that they are just mere shapings of the bigger picture. The greater idea and meaning of love that many of us won’t really know until we grow past our self-centered teen years. For some that may be early twenties. For others, it may be mid-to-late twenties, and for even others, thirty of after. For some of us it will develop over a series of promising but failed relationships that probably make you feel like you know less about love than when you started. For others, perhaps during engagement, and yet others not until they have a year or two or ten of marriage under their belts.

Might I also add, that our grandparents, the people who have been married 50 years, through the depression, wars, natural disaster, immigration and whatever else actually have some clue as to what love exactly is. And there even might be some confusion for them. Even after all of those years, there is still no idea of what love is compared to God.

I really just don’t think we have a clue. None, nadda, zero, zip, zilch! God is love. Can we even comprehend what that means? I can’t. Kind of gets me frustrated thinking about it. If God is love, than how close to love have I ever really been in any of my relationships? And I’m talking about romantic relationships. Not family, and perhaps friends only a little bit. But mainly, guy verses girl, I’m attracted to you and you’re sweet, be my valentine, kind of love. The kind that mysteriously starts somewhere between the ages of 4 and 12 one day when we just look at the opposite sex in a whole new light. Just the day before we promised the only female we’d ever even consider hugging by our own will or let kiss us is mommy (sorry, but this is written from a guys perspective).

And so we decide to get involved. Some of us from 10, and others maybe not until 20 or later. Get up the courage to ask a girl we like to do something with us. And before we know it, we’re getting voted homecoming queen and king, and being voted class couple senior year in our yearbooks’ superlatives. And yeah, we’re class couple. Obviously three or four years from now, when we’re close to finishing college, we’ll have a wedding, and live happily ever after, right? Then things start to go the other direction. You first go to different schools. You decide that it will surely work long distance, until one of you visits the other and it’s weird, and you find out things that make you wish you’d never gotten in to this in the first place. For some of us it’s a one-time cycle, for others we go into it over and over and over again. And you have to start to wonder, what is true love?

You think you have a handle on it, and in seven hours, you’re searching for answers. You hear something from somebody and by the weekend, your friends are setting you up with a new fling. Some people actually spend a majority of their high school years in one long-term relationship. Only to have it end the summer before, after, or sometime during their senior year. So what’s the point of that? You spent countless hours and money on this one person who you end up never talking to again after a semester of college. Couldn’t you have spent some more time with your friends in high school? Developing friendships that will last for years more than any boyfriend or girlfriend ever could? The fights you had during? The mess it was afterwards? How is any of that worth it? You will develop at least as many, if not more, social skills from interacting with a balanced group of coed friendships during high school than you ever will in one or two time consuming long-term relationships. And believe me, there will be just as much opportunity for arguments! And imagine how much those grades will improve!

So where is your time and effort being put? All into one person, or much into many? Your teen years are meant to be shared with many! Not just one or two. Chances are, not too long after it’s over, you’ll look back and realize how insignificant all of those feelings of “love” really were.

So you’re probably wondering why I have any right to say any of this. And I know it’s going through the heads of those who are in some serious relationships. I must not understand. I’m just a youth pastor; I’m supposed to say these kinds of things. Well, yes, I am, however, everything I mentioned above was my life exactly, less than ten years ago. In fact, I probably had more than just two long-term relationships in high school (we’ll define a long term relationship as one that lasted at least the length of one full school year). I looked back on them and realized how insignificant they were. Maybe one of those girls I still have any sort of contact with, and even that is so rare, you couldn’t get it served to you in a steak house. That’s meaning no disrespect to any of those people. They were great, and I do have good memories, but I also have bad ones. Mainly from not understanding what life and love were all about to begin with. I realize that I would not have been lacking memories had I put a majority of that time into the friends that I still have to this day. I also would have had a lot less worries about showing my father my report card each quarter.

Some relationships that people get into in high school are just too serious. I’m not saying don’t go on date with someone, or don’t like anybody, or don’t ask anyone to your prom or homecoming. I am saying not to let anything get too serious. Don’t spend time with one person every single day all year long. That’s what Satan wants, not God. Situations like that lead to temptation, which often times many people can’t resist. It can lead to pressure and responsibilities that a teenager was just not meant to have. A teenager should not be preparing, or experiencing anything resembling marriage. Save that for your mid twenties or so. Until then, be friends with many, date few, and try to keep your wedding night (ten years down the road) as special as possible.

Still struggling with me telling you that you don’t know what love is about? Not that this poem could capture it completely either, but it’s my meager attempt.

God loves you before you know
You're even in a womb
He loves you when you're born
Slimy, gross, and new
He loves you after first words
And however terrible at two
God loves you when you whine
He loves you 'cause you're you.

Those tantrums don't prevent
His love from holding strong
He loves you when you're sick
Your parents stayed up so long
Don't worry about that first lost tooth
He loves you with that gap
He loves you when you've cried so much
It's clearly time for nap.

Always when you tell mom "no!"
And dad can't have a hug
Even when dad must yell
You broke his coffee mug
When sis moves in to her own room
And bro is there to fill
That empty bed she left behind
Even against your will

When that voice cracks and zits attack
And armpits start to smell
God's love is there with that awkward hair
Even if you can't tell
Why can't I go out with these so-called friends?
"Their parents won't be home?"
Argue all you want my friend
And I just might take you're phone!

God loves you when you dent the car
The driving teacher loans
He loves you when those grades of yours
Always seem too low
The essays and the SAT's
Surely they don't care
When your dog dies and your best friend lies
God will be right there

When that date shows up late
On prom night, can you believe?
When they don't come and all they say…
Because they lost their sleeves?!
But if they do, you're curfew is 2
"Aw dad? We'll be out all night!"
Well good for them, you won't be
Don't forget to turn out the light

Graduation day, you made it
HOORAY! Time to say goodbye
Shop for school, and there's bad news
In an accident they died
God's still there, he hasn't left
His love it will endure
"But how do I know? Is it still there?"
Oh yes, it is, I'm sure!

The perfect date, you've found your mate
Time to show that love
That God has given, known or not
Cold feet? He'll give a shove
If you seek him he'll show you love
Like none you've seen before
What is true love? It's not from us
It's Him, forever more