Wednesday, June 1, 2011

An inch of elephant

Catholic, meet Christian.

How I’ve grown to dislike the taste of those words in my mouth, the sound of them in someone else’s. Nails on a chalkboard. I grew up with the impression that those were different sides of the fence. Neighbors that didn’t talk to each other, certainly didn’t cross into each other’s yard.

I’ve been dating one of these neighbors for almost a year.

He came in the backdoor of my life one evening. While I was dancing. Or trying to (I wasn’t that good yet). He took my hand, asked me to dance, led me onto the floor. Gently, decisively, he guided my turns, invited me to follow. His smile, so radiant, filling up his whole, dark skinned face with joy. His eyes, so deep and warm, sparkling, gentleman with a glint of mischief. Watching him dance effortlessly, feeling the music in his skin, I felt the tingle of joy in the movement of dance, washing over me. So much conversation passed between us without words, the mystery of dance.

All this before I knew he’s Catholic. And I’m not. We’re two different ends of the same spectrum. The enormity of God.

The struggle to understand God is a bit like two people standing in different places, staring at the same elephant. One notices the elephant’s long, curvy, wrinkled trunk. The other notices the elephants muscular flanks, extending to solid columns of leg. Same elephant, different angles, different eyes, different perspectives.

Any more, I question my previous assumption in life and relationships. That two people staring at the same square inch of elephant in intricate detail shows greater spiritual compatibility than one person seeing the head and the other studying the tail. I’ve wanted someone to see the same square inch of God as me.

True, this can certainly make for an easier relationship, and even here, no two people see with the same eyes. Yet, how small of me. Maybe it’s every bit as complementary for me to be with someone who gently tugs at the corners of my lens, stretching, stretching, always stretching, pointing to a different part of the elephant, helping me to see more.

When all is said and done, aren't we all seeing but an inch of God's infinite form?

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