Skin Deep Love

Addressing the Career Ministry at the Roswell United Methodist Church this week on the topic of “First Impressions” I cautioned against the gravitational pull to focus on the “skin deep” and encouraged instead to reach deeper for changes to character which wrinkles and aches cannot fade but that make more of an impact on someone who is REALLY looking.

Question is: Is anyone really looking? Looking deeper than the obvious? Ann Curry’s tearful announcement of her exit from the Today show after fifteen years on the team was heart wrenching. She obviously was devastated about the decision foisted on her and said as much.

I am not a regular viewer of the Today show but it is interesting to note that she has been a valued member of the team for over fifteen years and was asked a year ago to co-host. She is now still going to be operating under “some fancy new titles” (as she calls it) for the same network which tells me she is still good at her job. Unfortunately, the ratings dipped a month ago and the “fix” was her departure. I wonder if her bosses could’ve worked with her to eliminate any perceived lack. She claims she was not given “enough time to work out the kinks”.

The truth is, Ann, these days we do not value relationships enough to “work with” or “stick with” them. We “love” easily and momentarily – same as we do ice-cream or the latest shoe fad – a love that is skin deep – a lust.

Of course based on our current culture, when we think of the word lust we think only in sexual terms. However, the real definition of lust is “an overwhelming desire or craving” – for sex, money, food, power, importance, a person, a thing etc. It has a temporary, initial high, which fades and we move on without a second thought to the destruction or pain left behind.

Ann Curry realized “they’re giving me some fancy new titles”, to make the break sound more palatable. We too couch our relationship breaks in socially acceptable jargon like:

  • It didn’t work out
  • I’m so busy
  • I don’t have the time or energy to devote to it anymore
  • My tastes have changed
  • We are not compatible anymore
  • I need to stay true to my “priorities”
  • My “priorities” have changed
  • It’s not you, it’s me
  • You deserve better
  • I don’t want to cause you pain
  • I get emotional when I think about our relationship so I can’t deal with it.
  • I still really “love” and care about you but…

 Socially acceptable yes but LAME!

In the movie “Pretty Woman”, Julia Roberts – the prostitute, looks around at the crowd at the races and comments to Richard Greer – the millionaire businessman: “If these are your friends, no wonder you came looking for me”. How ironic that it takes a prostitute to actually see the value of relationships.

 1 Corinthians 13: If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of inspired preaching and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

 I am reminded of the words of a psychologist to me, many years ago. She said “in thirty years of practice, I have never seen a relationship that didn’t make it despite all odds if BOTH parties really wanted to and I have never seen a relationship survive where ONE party wanted out”.

 It’s tragic that the “left behind” party almost always feels like a failure – in Ann’s words “I’m sorry I couldn’t carry the ball over the finish line”. If we are able to see beyond the tears, we would realize that it takes both parties to get to the finish line. The person who dismisses the relationship is really the “failure”. Ann, it’s our disposable mindset based on our lusts, where landfills are overflowing with the waste – the waste of human capital; because we do not REALLY invest for the long term. We are greedy and emotional, seeking immediate gains; failing which, we move on to perceived “higher yields”.

 Unfortunately I have mistaken true lust for true love myself before and have felt the grief and anguish of that reality. I think of all those young ladies and gentlemen just starting out in life. I think of my daughter and wish I could shield her from that bottomless, excruciating, dose of pain – but I can’t. I can only caution her to look deeper to find real relationships. To caution her that real love does not feel good for a short time, it isn’t something that evaporates with the blistering sun or gets washed away with the storms. True love and relationships are a test of endurance. True love is the rainbow after the storm.

 1 Corinthians 13: 7 Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

When you have true love you want to hold on to it forever. To all of you in my life that have chosen to weather the storms with me, I appreciate it more than you could know and I thank God for you.

Marisa Pereira

By

Marisa Pereira is a mother, fashion designer, currently runs a Design and Image Consulting business in Atlanta, GA, is a freelance writer and volunteers at her church and in the community. She holds a BA in Fashion Design and a BA in French with a minor in Psychology and has worked in the Fashion Industry for over twenty years. Frustrated at her inability to find appropriate church clothes for her 14 year old daughter, she heeded God’s call, and created the stylish but modest, Michaela-Noel clothing collection, now available on-line. Having lived in multiple countries, she is acutely aware of the emphasis cultures place on visual appeal. She analyzes the importance of presenting the best image of ourselves and passionately insists that it starts within. She regularly addresses adult and youth audiences – encouraging and teaching them to make a memorable first impact but more importantly - to create a lasting impression. Her websites are: www.mpcimage.com and michaela-noel.com.

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  • Vince Baker

    Marisa,

    What a wonderful commentary to help guide our actions and teach our children what real relationships are to be founded on, vs. allowing modern day secularism to shape our/their minds and future actions.  It is a sad state of affairs in America today when the predominant family unit is “single parent families” and the divorce rate is over 50%.  The main reason for that is the me first, skin deep mentality that secular society promotes. Thank you for your honesty and your personal touch to this.

  • Ffarrell

    Very good insight as to our “throw away” culture, where people are discarded like old clothes or a used car.  A wise man from India once said, “You in the West marry the one you love.  In the East, we love the one we marry”. I hope to shield my children from the rejection that will surely come.  Maybe the best we can do is make them aware of this possibility now.

    You forgot one lame cliche!; “I love you. I’m just not in love you with you anymore.”

  • http://careerministry.org/ Caroline McCoy-Hansen

    Bless you, Marisa…this is outstanding, perhaps the best you have written thus far. I put it on my facebook with the following comment…
    “We have had this lady as a guest speaker at our ministry, and she is an outstanding caring women and mother. I have met her daughter, and she is a clear reflection of the gift of love her mother has given her. In other words, she practices what she preaches!”

  • http://www.michaela-noel.com/ Marisa

    Caroline, Thank you so much for the words of encouragement – I am a work in progress just like everyone else…

  • http://www.michaela-noel.com/ Marisa

    thanks for the reminder Ffarrell – yes – a very common excuse!

  • http://www.michaela-noel.com/ Marisa

    Thanks Vince, if people first valued all relationships – marriage would be the automatic one at the top…

  • Clement_W

    In a society where ‘No-Fault’ action and inaction e.g. divorce, ‘marriage’ etc.; pre-nups and even no-fault Insurance, and the word ‘love’ has come to mean even one-night stands, what happened to Ann Curry is the norm.

  • http://www.michaela-noel.com/ Marisa

    True Clement – we have become a “disposable” society.

  • Caroline

    Your are gifted by the Holy Spirit in your writing, and without Him, there would be no progress.

    Have a safe and Happy Fourth!

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