"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect." 1 Peter 3:15

Saturday, May 01, 2010

I'm Known

Its been raining. The grey clouds seem to accentuate the vibrancy of the green grass and the flowers in the garden are screaming with bright colors. Sometimes, Its just nice to take a walk on a drizzling day; breathing in the freshness of the newly washed ground, and the sweetness of the air.

I have been in a somber, reflective state of mind this week. With the new green of Spring, I am once again reminded that change is just around the corner, filling me with both excitement and anxiety. Knowing that I will soon move even further away from friends, and away from my family leaves me feeling very much alone.

its scary to be alone.

The other day, I caught up with a good friend. We talked about old college friends; people we care deeply about, but for some reason or another have lost touch with. That can leave a person feeling guilty; to be so close for a season and then to know nothing of each other the next. He said something to me that lodged deep in my mind. "Friendships aren't marriages." God sometimes brings people into our lives for a season, and only a season. I find that a bit scary. Maybe because it forces me to trust God in all seasons.

We all desire community; a place where we feel like we belong. We all crave intimacy; someone who "gets" us. Someone who truly knows us--and still loves us. I think that, most of the time, I trust God in his provision of community. I am thankful for the communities God has provided me with in the different seasons of life; amazing friends who really care about and love me. I am thankful for the Church.

It has been harder to trust God with intimacy. Intimacy is a gift we share with only a few people, and with God himself.

"Friendships aren't marriages." The intimacy I share with a friend is nothing like the intimacy between a husband and wife. As a single person, that hurts a bit, because if I am honest, I crave that kind of intimacy. I long to experience the kind of intimacy that binds two people together as one flesh.

I think all people, both single and married, crave deep intimacy. We want to be known, or at the very least to feel known. Its tricky, because to really be known, we have to really be open, but that leaves us exposed. So we run and hide naked in the garden, the stench of forbidden fruit on our breath, from the very one who was our satisfaction. We long for intimacy but we run from the pain it can bring. So we look for the substitutes. For some that means hoping from relationship to relationship, never sticking around long enough to really be known. For others its a centerfold in a magazine who is never disappointed and always eager to give herself away. Or maybe its getting lost in the perfect romance of a book or movie that always ends with a happily ever after and the perfect kiss. We all have this sense ingrained in us that intimacy is very important; that it needs to be fulfilled. We all seek different salves to dull the pain of intimacy broken and lost. Deep down we know that something we were created for isn't being met.

I am not married, but I do know that no marriage has perfect intimacy. A friend spoke on Ecclesiastes the other day. Solomon was right when he declared, "Meaningless, meaningless, all is meaningless." There really is nothing new under the sun--God has given us great pleasures to enjoy here on earth, and he gives us other people to connect with; but even in these good things, there is a point at which the things of this life can no longer satisfy, and the eternal must. As my friend put it, the desires of this world eventually hit the ceiling, leaving us longing for heaven.

Maybe, if I am really honest with myself, my longing for intimacy isn't so much a reflection of my marital status, but more so my spiritual status. There is something incredibly beautiful about two people deeply in love becoming one flesh through the holy covenant of marriage; I hope I find that some day, but I know that it pales in comparison to the intimacy found in a relationship with the Holy Trinity. Two people can become one flesh, but when we become Christians, the living God indwells us! The Holy Spirit lives in us, the one who created us and knows us--the way we want to be known--lives in us and love us--the way we want to be loved. Then he invites us to know and love him too.

It is scary to be alone, and unknown. But I'm not. I just need to remember that.

"As the deer longs for streams of water, so my soul longs for you, O God."--Psalm 42:1

"My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God."--Psalm 84:2

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