Wednesdays in the World - Nerdy Love

This Valentine's Day, let's talk about love. Not just "love", but "looooovvvveeee." (In my head I can hear a 3rd grade boy teasing another 3rd grade boy about his crush on a 3rd grade girl with whom he's never spoken. Don't ask me why that popped into my head. Probably because I never spoke to my 3rd grade girlfriend. It was mostly notes. And awkwardness.) The kind of love that makes you weak in the knees... romantic love. The squishy kind of love.

Love is something intangible, right? You "just know" when you're in love? Well, not according to science! Apparently, scientists at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine (I'm not sure if having Einstein's name on that school is good or bad in this case... He is smart, but I don't recall him ever being a doctor...) have figured out that love is in your brain.

There's this part of your brain that "floods the caudate with dopamine" when you are near someone you love. From my limited medical background (read: none), this basically amounts to a good feeling pumped through you when you see or relate to someone you love. Ironically, doctors say it's bascially the same thing that happens when you do drugs.

Now - here's where it gets interesting. It turns out that doctors have figured out that there is a difference in your brain between love and lust. The reaction you get when you're in love is different than the one your get when you are in lust. They are connected in some ways, in that the reaction of love makes the reaction of lust easier and more frequent. But they are very different feelings.

What's important is this: "In the end, Drs. Fisher and Brown say what they learned from lovers' brains is that romantic love isn't really an emotion -- it's a drive that's based deep within our brains, right alongside our urges to find food and water." Oh man. If science has ever served up a slow pitch - here it is. Scientist have proved that the desire for love is deeply seeded in our being.

So why would I care so much about this? We'll, I really want to love and be loved. I feel that deep urge within me every day. Why? Is it really just my evolutionary urge to maintain the species? I don't think so. There's something deeper there. Something that seems to be missing from my soul. It's God. Not the trite "There's a hole in my heart that can only be filled by you" talk. It's that my soul is incomplete because I have been separated from from something that I am meant to be one with.

Flashback - Adam in the garden, pre-sin. He walks with God. There is unity there. He is fully known. Love. Flash-forward - Adam outside the garden, post-sin. There's a gap there. He's been kicked out, severed from being fully with God.

See, we were designed from the start to have that fullness. But we lost it. So when we get a glimpse of love, it's not so much that we love that love, it's that it gives us a pinch of what God intends for our souls.

Problem is, I settle for regular old human love. I try to fill up my void with anything and everything. Science would say I'm just desiring dopamine in my caudate. But I think it's something more. I keep loving things that don't satisfy. There's not enough dopamine in the world! I keep thinking that that next love will be the thing that works. But my desires are too weak. I settle.

So I'm thinking about that this week. And I'm thinking that maybe science is right - I need love deep down in my being. And I'm thinking that maybe there's nothing that can give that to me here on this earth. But maybe God can. I'll go pass him a note after study hall.