A couple of weeks ago I wore pajama shorts to bed. When I got up in the morning, my son Will was amazed. He was just staring at my legs in utter disbelief.
“I have never seen your legs so…clean,” he declared.
And all this time I thought my legs were tan! What a sad reality to learn that for seven years I’ve been sporting dirty legs. God has certainly blessed me with some funny boys, and I love it that even though in my mind I knew exactly what Will was going to say, he didn’t say at all what I expected. It’s fun when people surprise you. It’s very gratifying to learn something new about someone you know well.
After thirteen years of marriage, moments of enlightenment about your spouse are somewhat rare. Although this is offset by the sweetness of mutual understanding, it is still fun to get at something you didn’t know was there, some hope, some dream, some inner dialogue that is ongoing. And the way to get there is, of course, just time. Gobs and gobs of time, and not in front of the television. C.S. Lewis observed that you can’t get what you want if you want it too desperately. He quipped “‘Now! Let’s have a real good talk’ reduces everyone to silence.” And this is true. You can hardly sit down and decide to learn something new about someone. It’s an investment of time without a clear schedule for dividends.
Yesterday I went to a baby shower. It was a wonderful time for many reasons, not the least of which was oohing and ahhing over the glowing mother who indeed looks absolutely beautiful. It was also a rare treat for me to shop for a baby girl. But the thing that made the afternoon most special for me was to see so many friends from different parts of my life – friends I didn’t even realize the beautiful mama knew. One friend I know because ten years ago her husband’s office was down the hall from mine. One I know because our boys swim together in the summer. One I know from the C.S. Lewis Institute, one from my church, and one from a yoga class I went to. Others who were there I know through my boys’ school and a Bible study I used to be in. It’s very comforting to me, living in a big city where you can be totally anonymous, to see the paths of my life converge. It gives you a wonderful sense of belonging.
But just like searching for the unknown in the people closest to you, it takes an investment of time. When I first moved to D.C. almost twelve years ago, I didn’t know a single person. Many, many times I had to force myself to go to events where I knew I would feel like an outsider. But even though the schedule for dividends is a mystery, I have to say that all the investing pays off. Relationships of depth and true community are worth every second we put into them.
And the same is true for our most important relationship–our relationship with our Heavenly Father through Jesus Christ. Time spent with Him builds depth, builds community and yet He, by definition will always surprise us, there is always, always something new and different to learn. Don’t you love that?
Jeremiah 29:12 says: “Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
May we seek Him this week with all our hearts.