I remember the first time I fell in love with a girl. It was shortly before my 20th birthday. We went on this romantic day get away to Duluth, MN (3 hours north of the Twin Cities). Duluth is the main city surrounding Lake Superior. It truly one of the most beautiful sites a person can see. We traveled around all of the light houses, visited all of the sites, we made out in my car (I know that as my mom is reading this she’s thinking “not my baby”). We ate at the widely respected Grandma’s restaurant. After a long day, I drove us back into the suburbs of the Twin Cities. As we were about home, I pulled into a parking lot and I looked into her eyes and I said to her “I love you”. At that moment, my mind began racing. I began thinking “What if she doesn’t say it back?” “Why wouldn’t she love me?” “What’s wrong with her? She hasn’t said it back yet.” “God Mike, why did you have to go and make an asshole of yourself?”
What is that?
The moments preceding that fatal gaze and saying were perfect and as soon as I reflected it, I cowardly retreated into a defensive and tumultuous place. I lost the love and peace I was feeling at that moment.
Being a guy I have guy friends. I do in fact love my friends, but, I can’t really express this to them. I think my friends are the best people I could ever know. When I hang out with them I am perfectly content with life. I am able to laugh, to have fun, to speak intellectually and vulnerable. But, when I tell them that I love them their response is “Dude, don’t be gay.”
What is that?
There are often many times in my life when I am happily loving and serving others. I pray happily. I feel the intimacy of God flowing through me, I am able to give this to others. I give myself away to others. I believe I give Christ away in those times because in times of love and peace, it is not me but Christ who lives in me. Then when I am about to fall asleep, I’ll say something like “Gosh Mike, you didn’t read your Bible in the past few days. What the Hell is wrong with you?”
What is that?
It seems like so often we can be living rightly, doing rightly, being rightly, and, then we condemn ourselves or others because we fear the love, peace and hope that is flowing through us. We open ourselves up and we panic because we fear being hurt. We often get in our own way of living in the radical peace and love of God. The famous philosopher and mystic Meister Eckhart once said
“The eye with which I first saw God is the same eye with which God first saw me.”
When I love God, it’s not me who is loving him. Its God loving himself through me, as he gives me the ability to love anything. When I love God and others, its God is me loving him and others. When we go through these moments of fear, its us who gets in the way of this love. Until we learn to be polite and get God out of his way, we will never learn the full capacity of freedom, peace, and love of himself and the world. We will live in ourselves and live alone, afraid and scared. This is my hope is that we can get out-of-the-way and let God be at work through us and in us.