“This way that we love, that’s how it should be loving God,” He says this morning, eating breakfast beside me. “The way that we communicate, the way you know how I’ll feel about something, how you hear my voice in your head, that’s exactly how it’s supposed to be with Him.”
He folds his napkin, sets his coffee cup on the table. Light falls soft, new, from the window, washing everything. Seventeen years, and I know the lines of his hands, all the angles of the joints in his fingers, the feel of his palms. He can say a thousand different things just by touching me. We use words, but we don’t really need them. He looks at me, those eyes blue-green like salty, sun-gilded ocean waves, and I hear his voice. I know the way his mouth curves when he’s amused, and the way his chest lifts when life feels too heavy. I understand I need you and I love you and Did you just see that? just by the way he carries his body, the smooth movement of muscles, the way he breathes.
And when I can’t see him, he’s still beside me. I wonder over something and his thoughts blend with my own, and I am caught up in the dance, the sweeping way we live and love. The lines have blurred, where we begin and end. I know him. I know what he’ll say before I ask the question. If he runs out of words, I can fill in the blanks. He reaches for me before I tell him I’m sad, or scared, or emptied. He senses my trouble before I acknowledge it. He is the better part of me. I take from his gentleness, borrow his humor, breathe his sense of adventure.
The scripture says that we are one, no longer two (Genesis 2:24). I know things about him that he never says, because I know the hot current of his soul, melted into my own. We breathe better together. We guard the wholeness of side-by-side. We know the truth of mutual need, mutual delight.
Seventeen years, and I still want to spend every moment with him. I still want to experience everything first with him. I still want to tell him first, touch him first, know him most.
I fold myself into him, and he hides me safe, weaving his strength through all my barely-held-together spaces, and sometimes maybe you think it’s me you’re seeing, when really it’s his arms wrapped tight, his heart, his words. And this is Love, not some needy conquest easily bored, not some self-seeking pressing for a novelty, but the melting of two lives so intimately wound that it becomes impossible to find the beginning of one and the end of another.
This morning, I made him smile, remembering something he’d forgotten, a conversation no longer shaped like us with the blurry lines, us with the woven thoughts, the words known before they’re spoken.
“You won’t remember this,” I said, touching his hand. “That first year. Something made me sad, and I don’t remember what it was, but you tried so hard to comfort me. You tried, but I didn’t know how to let you be there, and you didn’t know what I needed. We were so new, so…clunky.”
He smiled, gentle, listening, nothing in the memory anchoring him. I knew it wouldn’t. He doesn’t remember conversations that need not mark him. These words, this marking, this shaping, had been mine.
“I called Mom and Dad, and you listened to me pouring everything out. You listened to me laugh, watched me lighten. And when I hung up the phone, I smiled at you and said, ‘I feel better.’ And you looked at me, your mouth a line, flat. And I asked you what was wrong, if you were okay, and you said, ‘I want to be the one you come to, the one who can make you feel better. I want to be there for you, not just when you’re happy, but when you’re hurting too.'”
He smiled, eyes lovingly blank.
“You don’t remember that, do you?”
He grinned, shaking his head. “No, but you knew I wouldn’t.”
I laughed, pushing back my chair, acknowledging the time to move, to embrace the day. “Well, I learned something that day, that it hurt you if I didn’t cleave. That loving you means remaining with you in my need, letting you take care of me, not looking elsewhere.”
Lifting dishes into the sink, we talked of this deep Love, how God keeps asking us to just abide in Him. We spoke of how He says our lives are hidden with Christ (Colossians 3:3), that the lines should blur until no one can be sure where He ends and we begin. We breathed this Truth together, wrapped up in it, I in him, He in me, two lost as one in the breath of life. And I smile at this, because our love affair began loving Him, with not enough hours to speak of God.
Before He formed me in the womb, YHWH called Himself my husband (Isaiah 54:5), the lover of my soul (Ezekiel 16), and the church the bride of Christ (Ephesians 5, Revelation 21). He’s said we’re all invited to the great, heavenly wedding feast, that we should be ready—the right clothes, that is, Christ wrapping us up (Matthew 22), the waiting-oil in our lamps (Matthew 25:3). He says that marriage really is the mystery of Christ and His church (Ephesians 5:32).
And if I love Him well, I should know the lines of His hands, the oceans of His eyes, the things He’s saying just by touching me. I will speak His words because they are written all over me, and they come easy, sweet. The more I melt into Him, the more I know what He thinks before I ask. And He wants to be my everything—the first one I want to tell, the one I want to know most.
I suppose He hurts when I come to Him with my well-worded prayers and my plastic smile and my look how I’m doing righteous right, and then He watches me pour myself out to someone or something else. It’s relationship He wants–the thing He counted worthy of the cross—the deep Love, to be my life (Colossians 3:4), to be the One in whom I live and move and have my being (Acts 17:28).
But seasons come, and I lose myself in the physical details of living, and I treat Him like the Wizard of Oz, an ER doc I barely know, a uniform sworn to protect me. I forget Him in the living, the breathing, the moving, and then I run to Him in crisis, hanging my faith on a test. If you’ll just, then I’ll really isn’t relationship at all.
Oh, yes. It can start there, this soul-deep, life-consuming, abiding Love. But the knowing Him comes with time, as I fold into Him, as I forget how to see without His eyes, His thoughts. It comes with seeking every day, Him first, Him most. It comes with the cleaving, with complete surrender, with losing myself to know Him.
But who, oh LORD, am I, that you’re so mindful of me (Psalm 8)?