This year, I started planning for the holiday at the end of December. Now December is early, but I needed the extra time if I hoped to be successful. I wanted to find a print of a painting that reflected my vision of love — that passionate, all-encompassing gift from God for husband and wife. I wanted to find a picture that moved me the way Sam's love moves me. I would buy it and frame it and have it ready for our anniversary and Valentine's Day. I wasn't after a particular style or period of art — I enjoy many. The only stipulation I had was that all subjects needed to be fully clothed. My kids could not handle any more Gauguin-type Tahitian girls even if it was in the name of art appreciation.
One of the first prints I found was Gustav Klimt's "The Kiss," which I liked — a lot. When I showed it to Sam, he said it was too "flowery" and he looked worried. I assured him I would find something we could both enjoy.
The Internet can be a wonderful time saving device. I traveled to galleries spread across the country to view not hundreds, but thousands of prints from the comfort of my very own home.
In fact, it was so easy and saved so much time, that I reactivated the bursitis in my right shoulder. My fingertips developed calluses. I looked until the internal fan went out in our computer and we had to remove the cover and place a window fan next to it to keep the CPU from overheating. It became so cold in the basement that I had to wear gloves and a coat. But, I trudged on, red nose and all. (As an aside, this became a true test of love as I went to bed with ice-cold feet. Sam came dangerously close to failing this test.)
And with all that effort, the returns were dismal. Each night, I shut the computer down more determined than ever to find that perfect picture. I knew it had to be out there. Sam thought this was preoccupying way too much of my time.
By the end of January — I missed the anniversary deadline — Sam had become VERY impatient with my nightly outings. He came downstairs one night wanting to know when I would be done. I assured him that I was narrowing it down. He said that was good. I double-clicked to one of the finalists, "The Afternoon Siesta," by Vincent Van Gogh. This shows a husband and wife asleep in a field among haystacks. They have toiled together, and are now resting together. They seem like real partners in life. Sam gave this print a "thumbs up."
I also liked several prints by Jack Vettriano. One in particular was called, "Dance Me to the End of Love." Sam liked Vettriano's "Mad Dogs" better. It depicts a couple taking a frolicking walk on a beach. He is being chivalrous — trying to protect her from the sun with a parasol. He's having trouble because her movement is hard to predict. There is playfulness to their relationship.
Sam wanted to know which one I was going to get. "I don't know," I said. "I like these prints, but they don't reflect passion."
"You've been looking all this time and you haven't found one you would consider passionate?" he asked incredulously. I reminded him I really liked "The Kiss" by Gustav Klimt, but he didn't like it. Now he wanted to take another look.
I brought the picture up on the screen and gave him my interpretation. She is enveloped by his love. She is protected by it. She feels totally secure in it. It is difficult to tell where he ends and she begins. They are one. It is how I think of my love with Sam, and it is how I think Christ wants us to feel with Him. Sam changed his mind about "The Kiss." We bought it along with "Mad Dogs" and "The Afternoon Siesta" — pictures reflecting different facets of love between husband and wife.
May your searching for love lead you to Him, also. He is ready to envelop you with His love. You may search to the ends of the earth, by foot, by car or by computer, but a purer love you will never find.
I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine ... (Song of Solomon 6:3).
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