I just spent a weekend in New York celebrating a dear friend. What. A. City. I had been there before, but it’s been some time, so I felt like I got a second chance at a first impression.
Some first time visitors are awestruck by the looming buildings or the swarms of bodies climbing into the same subway car. The same wide eyed folks might count how many languages they’ve heard while perusing the MET, or how many boutiques hem in Brooklyn’s street corners. Others are inclined to feel the energy, the adrenaline, the rush of so many lives seeking so many differently similar things. I’ve found, however, that most never fail to mention the pizza. Let’s be honest- food is a sincere love.
So this is what I’m writing tonight: about sincere love. Like pizza which is most concretely cheese, tomato and starch, and most abstractly an Italian art form, love is best when it’s both. It’s entirely simple (mozz+tomato+bread) and entirely complex (who knows anything about Italian cooking?). Give me a brick oven pizzeria in the West Village and a four cheese pie? “Buon Appetito!” I’m in love.
I haven’t found him (you know not to be cheesy but, “the one,”) yet, but I tell myself he is coming as quick as he can. And maybe, just maybe, the hold-up has to do with the fact that he’s been stumped by this mozzarella of a mystery too. I once experienced a break-up/breaking-off/ending of a dear relationship (read: most painful), in which I pleaded with this person who didn’t love me back to tell me why he ever referred to us as “we” if in fact, he didn’t love me the way I loved him. I know it sounds pathetic, but it was the real thing. He would always talk about OUR plans and where WE were going and what WE would do and how WE were different than everyone else. Did he not understand the significance of these pronouns? “Everybody wants a we!” I cried to him. It was sad. As he shook his head, I felt bare and I never wanted to see him again. We did not go together anymore.
And that’s what it comes down to doesn’t it? Belonging. Even before the philosophical truth that love is this astoundingly simple and complex wonder of a thing like light or wind or water, we first understand that we belong to our beloved. I am yours, you are mine. Not like a possessive ownership thing. . But a BElonging, the long-awaited piece: tailored to fit a longing.
I have found myself, these past few weeks, increasingly grateful for the complexity of my God’s love for me. He is Abba Father, and Messiah King and Counselor Friend. He loves me. Some nights, I am in such great awe that I might lift up my hands, or open my heart, or pray for purpose with more purity than the night before. Or quite simply, I might just thank Him that He is my shepherd and I am His lamb and He is gentle with my stubborn bleating self. And then I will roll over and sleep well. We cannot help but be found by the depth of His love. It seeks us out, beckoning, “Come, come, you belong with me.” What sweeter words do we know?