I've been thinking lots about relationships a lot lately, or a lot for someone who isn't in a romantic one anyway. Its funny, isn't it, that those seem to be the only relationship we ever give much thought to, the only one whose health we monitor closely, even worry about lacking? I've been married, I've been single, I've been married & felt single...through all that its been the relationships we don't consider that have sustained me; the friendships, sisters, parents, even my children, and most especially my relationship with my creator, my saviour, my God. The rougher the seas my romantic relationship sailed into the harder I clung to Him, my rock, my strong tower. But I digress (of course I do, that's what I do).
I have a friend who after extricating herself from a most unpleasant marriage had little or no desire to enter into another matrimonial relationship-and who could blame her? I, more years past the divorce decree, assured her her feelings on the subject would change, probably overnight, when Mr. Wonderful walked into her life. The relationship I was in was on a rough course, but I believed we would weather the storm-I still remembered the wonder of falling in love when I was sure that chapter of my life was over. And I was right. (Today she's repeating my assurances to me, the tables have turned completely!)
The thing is, she met this amazing man, they fit together in a way that makes you believe there is a perfect somone for everyone. They have had their ups and downs, mostly born of fear and doubt, and of men and women not speaking the same language. And then she realized it wasn't him pulling away at every roadblock, shying away from the commitment of marriage but her. She had discovered in her own heart the fear that she didn't know how to be a good wife, how to be married, even doubting that she deserved this. All absurdities in the light of day, and yet, there they were. And trust me, I know the lies well. I've heard them whispered at me in the dark, and shouted in the heat of battle.
As she was discoverining this about herself I was finishing reading the chapter "Bridegroom" in Ann Spangler's book "Praying the Names of Jesus". As I read the questions offered for thought and further study at the end of the chapter bells began to ring in my head. My friend and I have often talked about how easy it is for us to understand God as a loving, compassionate and generous father, because we had dads like that on earth; and how no wonder so many peopl couldn't quite grasp this concept because their own dads were cruel, or absent, or disinterested.
It occured to me the same is true for us understanding God as a lover who desires us, pursues us, would sacrifice everything for us. We had husbands we poured our all into, believing them to be men like our fathers, if only we loved them enough. But they could not, or would not put our needs ahead of their own. They were selfish, abusive, unkind, unfair. No wonder then that we question our ability to love and be loved so completely! It was a breakthrough moment for me.
I'm still alone, still shook my fist at a solitary Saturday night last night, but I know that I deserve to be loved absolutley, and that somewhere out there is a man who is up to the task, and who will come and find me.