by K. Vera (IT: Software Artist)
My four-year-old son and I go for walks almost every day. When he holds my hand, he looks up at me and says, “You like it when I am next to you, because you love me.” And I crouch down and hug him, brush his hair and cheeks with my fingers, look him in the eyes and say, “Yes, I love you so much. You are my special boy.”
I believe Christ sees me the way I see my son, except with infinitely more compassion, because He knows the ways I have already screwed up and will screw up, and still loves me. Yet I find this really hard to explain to people, partly because the idea of imposing ideas onto someone who doesn’t want them is, for lack of a better word, icky.
It is easier to talk about the things that I love that are not politically charged, like my ScanSnap (one of the best consumer devices ever invented), Neosporin cream (not the oily ointment, the cream, which is AMAZING), the restaurant near my house that grills fish I can actually eat despite a lot of food sensitivities, and my awesome family. (Trust me, the more you know them, the more awesome they are!)
Why is it so hard to talk about Christ without feeling like it is an imposition? I want to be able to talk about Him the way I talk about other things so that people who have not experienced them can understand why they are good.
The best that I can do is explain my own experience.
Once upon a time, Christ met me where I was.
I left my husband when I was 28, and immediately jumped into an affair. My husband had said that he would not accept a divorce unless there was infidelity, so as bizarre as it sounds, I really thought it was the right thing to do. I thought it was a mercy, and would bring closure to us both.
Had you asked me two years earlier, I would have sworn never to do such a thing. And although the relationship I started after separating was short-lived, the consequences were not. A dramatic divorce ensued. My husband was determined to punish me, and I went through many months of turmoil and confusion.
I lived with my parents for a few months, and then moved into an apartment. I hadn’t been attending church since a child, but there was a large church nearby. On Sunday morning, I walked over, sat in a pew, and cried out. “God, I am so sorry. I have made a mess of things and need help.”
Later that day, I received a random instant message from someone who introduced himself by telling me the last book he read. I had my online yahoo profile set to allow people outside my contact list to send me messages, but requested that we only talk about books or weight training. Most of the people who contacted me were bots or creeps, and I ignored them. But since this guys seemed to be real and at least honored my request about how to introduce himself, we chatted for a while.
At some point I jokingly asked him if he happened to need a TV stand, because my ex-husband had given me our old TV stand, and it was way too heavy for me to move upstairs. Coincidentally, he did, and said that his TV was still sitting on the floor. I offered to give him a TV stand if he would help me move some furniture, and he accepted.
After he helped me lug some things up the stairs I offered to buy him a slice of pizza. We walked to the pizza place, past the church, and I said, “I went to that church this morning.”
And he said, “So did I.”
My heart stopped. Time stopped. At first I thought he must have been deliberately following me, yet he had such an innocent and awe-struck expression. A few questions revealed a series of amazing coincidences. He really had gone to that particular church that morning, alone and with a spirit similar to mine. He was divorced, had just moved, and lived within a mile.
By the end of the evening, the poor guy was already in love. His landlady told me later that she bumped into him the next day, and he told her that he had just met the woman of his dreams.
At the time, I didn’t want that type of relationship, and even if I had, would not have considered this guy my type. He turned out to be one of those people who doesn’t try to sell his qualities to anyone. He confessed the poor choices he made during his marriage right away, and left the good stuff to be discovered slowly as I got to know him. He never tried to convince me to like him. And he waited patiently for me to decide.
Two years later we were married.
My husband Carlos is a person who owns his mistakes and humbly tries to do better. He is honest, hardworking, and fiercely loyal. He is also assertive and protective. And best of all, he adores me, and tells me so all the time.
We have been living in the same small house since we were married seven years ago. In our front yard are two gnarled and diseased cherry trees. For most of the year, they are an eyesore. But once a year, they bloom. I like to sit on our porch swing and watch the wind swirl through the cherry blossoms. It is quiet and cool when I close my eyes and pray.
“Lord, you like it when I am next to you, because you love me.”
And the world gets quiet, with just the faint flutter of leaves. And as the gentle breeze washes over me, I can hear Him say, “I love you so much. You are my special girl.”