A whirlwind romance, chaos and all

Here’s a short story I wrote back in October 2007 …

She was full of life and energy, a breath of fresh air, and she exploded into my life one summer. It wasn’t like my life was particularly boring or meaningless up till then, so when I say that she was a spark, it means that she really was. Quick-witted, quick to laugh, quick to become attached.

I fell fast. My dad used to say that we don’t ‘fall’ in love; we always have a choice about who we love. I don’t think we can choose or simply decide not to feel certain emotions, to feel certain ways—all we can do is decide what to do with those feelings and emotions. All I know is, the moment I saw her, I was in over my head. And that was the start of it.

She made me step outside of my comfort zone. Because of her, I’d do things I never thought I would—cast aside responsibilities far too tightly-gripped, act spontaneously, step out on a limb. Sometimes, when I had time to catch my breath, I’d wonder if I was becoming more or less myself. She challenged me, tested me, stretched me, with late-night conversations, penetrating comments accompanied by sly smiles while her eyes glittered with mischief. She made me feel completely comfortable in my skin for the first time in years. Every touch was intoxicating, every word inebriating, every laugh breathtaking. She was like no one I’d ever met.

I suppose the term for what happened would be a ‘whirlwind romance’. The ‘whirlwind’ part is especially apt: she came in without warning, stirred stuff up and threw it all around, and then left as quickly as she’d appeared. She said that I knew her so well that it scared her away. I never did understand that.

“Isn’t it a good thing to know someone well?” I asked.

“I’m complicated,” was all she said. But her smile wasn’t reflected in her eyes.

Isn’t it funny how a person can turn your world upside down and make you laugh, make you hurt? And yet that person may not be the one you spend the rest of your life with. Coz I’m realizing that if you open yourself up, there are lots of people who can turn your world upside down and make you laugh, make you hurt, and not be the one that you spend the rest of your life with. Maybe that’s just the way it is; maybe that’s just the way of life.

Before she left, I wrote her a letter and left it on her table. I don’t think I said those three words. But I meant them.

“You’ve captured my heart, dear friend. You looked at me, and I fell in love. One look my way and I was hopelessly in love.” (Song of Songs 4:9)

Jenny

This weekend, I met Jenny. Jenny’s one of those people who makes you feel valued, like there are few things better than spending time with you.

And, as I got thinking about it, I came to the conclusion that when you give someone value, when you treat them like they’re worth something, when you see them through God’s eyes and draw that part of them out—there’s something very attractive about that.

I think that’s how it was with Jesus. I’m sure there were some who followed him because they wanted to see him do miracles and work wonders. I’m sure there were some who followed him because they appreciated the insight he brought in his teaching. I’m sure there were some who followed him because they expected him to bring revolution and overthrow the Roman oppressors.

But a lot of the people who followed him were downtrodden and outcast, those on the fringes of society, “tax collectors and sinners,” men and women of questionable repute. And I think one of the reasons he attracted people to him was that he affirmed their worth, he treated each one as a person of great value. Maybe for the first time, the tax collector, the prostitute, the social pariah, was seen—really seen—as a child of God.

You and me and everyone we meet—we’re all made in the image of God; we’re all endowed with value and dignity. I’ve been blessed over the years by number of people around me who have restored me to wholeness, who’ve lifted me when I’ve felt battered down and broken, particularly in the aftermath of some damaging relationships. And they’ve done this by simply reminding me of God’s perspective, reminding me that I am worth something.

In light of all of this then, I guess my challenge is twofold. First, do you know how much you’re worth—how much you’re really worth? How much you’re valued by God? And do you have people around you who will remind you of that most important perspective when the world beats another message into you?

And second, realize that the people around you—your neighbors, your friends, your co-workers—they too are valued greatly in the eyes of God. How are you treating them? How are you valuing them?

It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would strongly be tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare.

All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations—these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit—immortal horrors or everlasting splendors. (C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory, 14-15)

Links of the Day, September 3-6

A special weekend edition (since I found time to pop online)!

News

Miscellaneous