Let’s sit awhile. I’ll put on a pot for tea.
I know, I’m more of a coffee girl, too, but I think tea has something to teach us here, about this, right now–teaches us to steep, to bleed into the quiet peace of waiting. Coffee–how I love it!–is the violent caffeinated cacophony of force, and we need a little less of that for the moment. Tea it is.
I’ll cut you a fat piece of orange-cranberry-pecan bread, and between bites I’ll tell you I think next time I’ll ditch the crumble for the glaze and that I’ve been single for a lifetime.
For my whole life. All that time.
You’re startled that I’ve blurted this, but that’s how I do things. If we’re to be friends, you should know that. I’ll try to skip past the whys of self-deprecation; I’ll spare you the bad joke about being a tall order in short stature.
OK. Maybe I won’t skip all that, because maybe you need someone to squeeze your hand a little and admit that it’s hard sometimes, that yes, hurt is there.
Because it is hard being the excited friend all the time, feeling all sidelineish. You’re scared to admit that the fact that you are genuinely ridiculously overjoyed to get save-the-dates in the mail and to wedding-scheme with your friends and to walk before them down the aisle almost makes the way out a little more tricky.
If you found bitterness to wrap yourself in, or to paint over your skin (layer after layer of brittle, impermeable shell), eventually it would crack and I think you would have to deal with that pink exposed flesh all at once. BAM. No other way.
But here, where the joy is real? It’s lonely and it’s wonderful all at once.
And maybe if it was later in the evening, with wine instead of tea, I would look away and admit that there have been plenty of why not mes accompanied with my own composition of answers.
I’m telling you this so you know I get it. I do.
I understand that you want to be loved like that.
I understand that you have so much to give. That you want to love like that.
I understand that marriage is one big eschatological metaphor for union with the One who made us, in Whom we have our being, and you kindof want in on that.
I also understand that sometimes you really just want someone to kiss.
But honey. Dearest daughter.
It cannot be all you live for.
It cannot be the only thing you dream of.
You might not even think that is how you do things, so look again while you press your thumb into bits of that crumb topping in question. Examine the way you’ve planned in secret, the imagined wedding date you’ve charted the rest of your life around.
The I’ll-be-married-by-thens and the not-married-untils.
Because here is something hard: that boy of your dreams is no guarantee, and not on any timeline of yours.
We think the falsehood of the prosperity gospel is just about the nice cars and big houses, but it goes deeper still to hot wives and guitar-playing husbands to make us whole, and perfect life plans to give us purpose.
[Here’s something risky: marriage is not the only happy ending, the ultimate eucatastrophe.]
And I want it to be clear that I am not telling you this so you’ll be content dating Jesus or becoming marry-able and-then-he-will-give-you-the-desires-of-your-heart. While sometimes blessing comes just when we’re not hunting it down, I’m not so sure he’s a God of reverse psychology and rhetorical questions. It is not a cosmic dating formula or trick.
We are to be faithful because of who He is, because He’s worth all of it [whether we feel it or not], not to get what we want.
There is a God to know now, and we will participate in that eschatological metaphor whether there’s a ring on our finger or not, when it is more than comparison.
There are even lepers to kiss.
[They are both your dearest friends and total strangers, both next-door neighbors and brothers and sisters across the sea.]
There are cups to pour, hands to get dirty and to hold. Another loaf of bread to bake.
And we circle back round here again, don’t we, love?
We ask, and He always gives.
Sometimes now, sometimes later. Sometimes the same, sometimes something different.
But always more.