The priest, smiling as I made my mea culpas, interrupted me to ask when I last let God love me.
I faltered, paused, stared sort of hazy-eyes at his lips, wondering if I had read what he said incorrectly in the dim.
“Uh…all…the time?” I remember saying.
“That’s convincing.” (Oh, a priest with humor.) “Your penance, then, is to spend five minutes a day just letting God love you.”
Did he stutter?
Is he still trying to be humorous?
But no. That was that. I remember bewilderingly walking away from that confessional feeling completely and utterly…new.
And I don’t mean new as in renewed and refreshed – though, yes, that’s what confession is for, and yes, that was involved.
But I mean new – the I’ve-never-done-this-before new-situation awkward-phase inexperienced kind of new.
I’m so new at this.
When was the last time I let God love me?
When was the last time I noticed something He did for me, a ballad He sent on the skirts of the wind, a love-letter sketched out in the soft laying of snow, a surprise “just because” gift He sent in the form of a friend’s hug or smile or kiss?
Those are Him…aren’t they? (You see? – not only do I not know when God loved me, I also can’t even comprehend how.)
I walked out of that confessional feeling more confused than when I went in. I felt – feel – considerably lighter, but I felt – feel – considerably more bemused.
It wasn’t until I had dinner with several of my friends and told them what my penance was that I really started to think about it (they were all considerably more thrilled than I with the idea of my “awesome” and “easy” penance, even though no one had any idea how to undergo said five-minutes-of-love).
Well, thank you all for your enthusiasm, but I certainly have no idea what I’m doing.
But one of my friends just blinked a bit and looked at me, chewing, “Wait, I mean, how do you let your dad love you?”
I remember being lost in the aquarium :: Daddy was the one who found me, and brought me to the family – by carrying me back.
I remember knowing I did wrong and hiding under my bed in fear :: Daddy was the one who found me, and brought me back into forgiveness – by carrying me in.
I remember – most recently – when everything went darkest in my life :: Daddy was the one who found me, and brought me back to myself – by carrying me out.
I looked at my friend, chewing, looking back at me, unaware of the enlightenment that just blinked into my eyes because of what she said.
“I just let him find me.”
Wait, readers, is it as simple as that?
Is that what I need to do now – just let God find me?
Because part of me thinks it can’t be that easy…right?
Surely I’m not actually hiding from God – as if I could anyway, like a veritable Eve who actually thought she could escape into the recesses of the garden, who thought she could hide her nakedness and vulnerability.
Eve, you silly girl. You can’t really hide from God.
But – can you run? Can you deny? Can you reject, fight, kick, scratch, claw? Can you at least try to hide?
And in a world where humans have no idea what they’re doing, and those who think they do are usually doing it wrong, we all certainly try to hide from God.
Like our First Parents taught us – hiding is our only option.
Behind masks, sin, good deeds, each other.
Because to let someone find you means to let someone see you.
So – let God love me. Let God see me. Let God find me?
You start by slowing down.
Have you ever noticed that our natural breath sounds mimic that gloriously intimate name Abba?
Have you ever heard that Abba doesn’t even strictly mean “Father”?
It means, gloriously intimate, Dad.
You start by slowing down to breathe in His presence.
Come find me, Abba. Find me, Daddy.
You guys…it’s so simple that I don’t understand how I never saw this before.
You let Him love you by just…being. By slowing down enough to let Him find you.
By taking off the mask and taking off your shoes and just sitting down and being.
There is never a single moment that passes that He does not seek you out.
There is never a single moment that passes that He does not wait for you to turn around so He can surprise you with the gift of Himself.
He may have first cried lama sabachthani, but He will never give us the opportunity to cry the same!
Come find us, Abba.
It says your God is in your midst. It says that He quiets you with His love and then He sings over you.
Sings over you.
That child, worn out from a long day of running, of hide-and-seek, falls asleep somewhere – on the floor, on the couch, under the table.
Then doesn’t Daddy find her? Puts her against his heart, sings over her.
And all she has to do is breathe in His love. Just be delighted in. Just be.
So, when was the last time I let God love me?
Not recently enough, I’m afraid.
But what a perfect opportunity I am given here – to slow down, to breathe, to let Him sing over me as I rest against His heart.
Listen to Him sing.
Let Him love you.
Let Him hold you.
Let Abba find you.
It’s like I spent the last few months hiding in the dark, you know?
I was scared and alone, but it was safe there – I thought.
For when it’s dark, you can’t see the pain or the shame, the hurt or the blame.
And neither can anyone else.
Letting someone find you means letting someone see you.
Turning on the light means looking in the mirror and seeing more than a pale outline –
You see it all –
The pain, the shame, the hurt, the blame.
But letting someone see you means letting someone find you :: and when He finds you, it’s as easy as sitting down against His chest and letting Him sing over you to the beat His heart plays out.
Come find me.