Robin Reliant and the Pacemakers


Never underestimate the power of a Disney classic. The stuff is as poignant as an M. Scott Peck paperback.

Yes, yes Disney is a fantasy of nothing but cartoon drawings and cleverly placed voiceovers, with sound-bites mixed by humans who probably check out Playboy in their lunch break; but this is where we are first taught about romance.

As I watched Robin Hood from an adult’s perspective, I thought about ol’ Rob. What made him appealing? The lounging back on tree branches as he cavorts in his bromance with Little John: ‘You worry too much ol’ boy’ or was it his high-energy playfulness matched with his fight for justice? Fearless in love and war, he made the entire process seem effortless – even enjoyable.

And it’s not about being the hero of the story.

Tom Cruise was the hero in Mission Impossible and I have about as much desire to see him fall in love on screen as I do to have eye surgery.

The element most interesting was that Robin and Maid Marion had been lovesick before – many moons ago. She still held a light for him years later (was this season of unrequited love an explanation for a her terrible choice in millinery – or why she only wore one dress in the entire story?) No, pardon me, she did change her dress for her wedding. She’s low maintenance – I’ll give her that.

Years later, their romance rekindled, thanks to no-nagged timing.

As I sat in Bungalow Café in Los Angeles this week, my friends and I talked about pace and expectations. After some woman meet a beloved, they become complacent, expectant of him providing services, with click-on-demand emotional affection. Her best behavior turns into ‘do this or receive my wrath’.

The beauty of Maid Marion was she understood her man. She knew his heart was a justice heart and nothing should stop him from pursuing his mission. She didn’t take his purpose personally (if you really loved me Rob – you’d drop archery), or place herself in between him and life, nor count herself the priority over his own needs. She was humble at the crucial moment. Whilst she was asleep, he was carrying out jail-breaks. Equally, she missed him, wanted him, but made no manipulative move to get him back. I am reading between the Walt D lines here, but stay with me – I have a theory.

When my girls interact with their men be it husbands, boyfriends or lovers, the thing about healthy relationships is they allow those men to be who they are, and meet them where they are at. No – don’t be a walkover, nor be a ‘pick and drop’ when it suits them. That guy isn’t protecting your heart. It’s important to voice emotional needs, but understand men are not there to fill a void.

Let’s not expect something that was never promised. No pushing, no begging, no nagging, no throwing the toys when plans have fallen through.

Such pace-making comes from knowing our identity. If we have expectations of men before we’ve even begun having a relationship with them, then it sets up a terrifying precedent for them and for you. They will never live up to those wishes. Because they’re based on your fear – not love. They were based on insecurity, not worthiness.

Had Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook back in the medieval times, I doubt Maid Marion would have placed up subliminal facebook statuses or sort for attention from other unlikely suitors. She had Clucky: reliable, characterful, strong-willed, fights off 8 Rhinos in a rugby tackle – Clucky. She had friends that reminded her who she was and provided the entertainment of friendship, despite the romantic interludes.

Because Marion stuck to her desire to respect Robin, regardless of what could happen between them both, Robin had nothing but beautiful memories of her. There is no way he would risk his life, dress up as a Stalk competing in an archery competition to win a kiss – if she was a bit of a bitch. (THERE’S YOUR ROBIN HOOD FLAW – a terrible ability to dress up in disguise – placing a beak over your face and balancing on wooden sticks for legs, still won’t cover the fact you’re a fox.)

When she went to present the winning prize, she knew, by looking into his eyes that it was Robin instantly. No disguise could fool her (or us in this instance).

She knew him. She knew him. She trusted that over anything. She knew his craziness. In fact that’s probably what she loved the most. She knew his power and drive would result in the good for the end. He appeared when she least expected.

Good relationships start with accepting the other person for what they are currently facing. They like being with them, because they like being in their company. Not because it declaims the lonely hearts column. Not because he does something for us and our soul. A good match makes the environment around them better. But that can only happen when the union between two people goes beyond the ‘what can he give me’ mentality and towards ‘I honour you. No matter how this game may play out.’

If you’re faint hearted, then don’t bother being a pacemaker; ‘cos this takes guts and self-belief. A label to define something into a relationship is often just a comfort blanket to mute one’s fear of not being loved in return. Labels are for clothing and Robin didn’t believe in them. He believed in sincere hearts and timing. And the beauty of Maid Marion was that she got on with her life until he gave further notice. No doubt if Robin was being an imbecile she’d tell him, but I’m talking about pace and the demands some men and women can place on each other – to grab something they want, rather how the journey should organically occur.

The need to define a bond with ‘in a relationship’ labels becomes laughable.

Love is more profound than that. It’s wise to tread with caution – the desire to speed up the pace to soften the fear is the danger zone.

Let’s pop the tags, and learn how to love above all else. Let’s become strong pacemakers who refuse to let fear be the dictator of the process.

I know you want to be that woman. I know you want to look back on your actions and believe you gave him freedom. So when he did come to you, you know that the heart of the matter was from his, not yours.

So be that girl. The girl that never had to question if she made a man fall into the relationship with her, or if he even had the choice to be with you. The more you honour your heart and plans that God has for it, the more the outcome is less of a concern.

In short; let them be them……so you can be you.

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