Last week we covered the four rules or the proper making of a fish sandwich (no, I’m not going to let that one die quietly) and inadvertently you got a good look at my “benign distortion” because I spent two days writing about rule two and gave nary a comment to rule one.
Rule one was, simply, “Love God.”
But there’s a richness in that apparent simplicity which I, the ineffable complicator extraordinaire, can turn into something impossibly complicated.
When you love someone, what do you do? Well, you pay attention to him. You keep your radar on for things he might like. You talk to him. You ask him questions. You wonder all the time what he thinks of you. You look for excuses to make contact.
I may not be 19 any longer, but I remember what it was like first being in love with my Patient Boyfriend, when I’d pick up a piece of candy and leave it in his mailbox because I passed it on the way home from class. Or the way I’d hope he had left a note for me. And how I’d write him long letters.
God doesn’t have a mailbox, but I think it’s the same. Maybe God gets a little thrill when we get all in-love with Him?
On a first date, what do you talk about? You say, “So, what do you do?” “Where do you live?” “Tell me about yourself?” You ask about hobbies, talk about common points of contact, find out if you’ve read the same books or listen to the same music.
Do we do that with God? Do we say, “So tell me a bit about yourself”? Do we look around with eagerness to see if He’s left something around for us to find in the middle of our day?
When you’re dating, you listen to your partner’s music because it gives you a shared experience. You might read his favorite author so you can talk about it, or watch basketball for the first time. (I did all three of those.) Do we do that with God?
We get to know our boyfriend’s friends. We find out his hobbies and figure out how to participate or how to watch. We make room for ourselves in his life and make room for him in ours. We talk to other people about him. We ask to see his old photo albums. If he writes letters, we read them over and over. If he writes for the newspaper, we grab each column the day it comes out.
In other words, we pay attention to the person we love. We want to learn about him.
And in doing so, we think that person is amazingly wonderful, almost too wonderful for us, but we want to be with him anyhow. We want to be a part of something together, make something wonderful, be partners. Be loved in return.
It’s just a two-word rule, but think how much it contains.