There are so many different ways relationships can express themselves. I was laughing with a friend the other day when we were talking about how it might be nice to be married but not live in the same house as our spouses; just live right next door. And share space when times flow well, but have somewhere close to go when time apart is also good.
When I was younger, I could see only one way. My friend, Dr. Jonathan, told me back in the day, “Sarah, you are so damn black and white.” I didn’t get it then, but now I do. Over the past few years.
And why wouldn’t there be more than one way? Look at all the diversity in Creation! Is this a black and white world? No, not even halfway. So, why not our God?
I’m talking about love. Who we love. How we love.
I wish I knew this before. Back when I needed to define everything. When I didn’t leave any room for mystery, for God to surprise me. When I tried to boil everything down to what I could understand and control.
And although I think the limits of love are vastly beyond what we are accustomed to in at least this culture, I think love itself is way less complicated than we make it.
For me it is now just time spent and respect. I value you as a person. I want to spend time with you. I want to hopefully have the opportunity to express how I feel about you. And then respect how far you want to go with any and all of that. That’s it.
No labels. No contracts. You know, like it used to be back when love was fun. Back when life was fun.
Maybe we lost it along the way. When we were chasing value, worth, and identity that we didn’t realize we already had. Because we were lied to.
Maybe real Love is not and never was complicated.
Someone asked me about someone I used to share a bed, a home, pets, a life, good times, and lots of laughs with. A female.
It was a long time before I arrived where I am now. Years I was tortured. Years I hurt those I loved by my back and forth leavings. So tied up inside. So sure about what was in my mind. And yet, life and love would undeniably call to my heart. More real than anything I’ve experienced in a “sanctuary”. They were my home – these ones I loved.
I was so scared. So un-used-to this. If I liked it, it must be wrong, right?
That’s what I was told by others through actions, words, and whatnot. Turning me into twice the child of hell that they clung to so dearly.
There was very little life in those pews. Sadly.
This satan. The one who steals a hug from a child. Who makes one afraid of touch that she, or he, needs so much. That is evil.
There are a million different arguments. I am sure there is value in many of the points. But I’m not interested in defending myself to anyone else’s standards. Because I am not on trial. I am free to love – and that is what I intend on spending my good time doing. Not going to war with people who so badly need to see me as wrong. That’s not what I want my legacy to be.
This is after I lived there for a long time. After I gave up God briefly. Regrettably traded Love for religion for a time.
She was in the hospital bed, for God’s sake. And still managed to get me my strawberry birthday cake with sprinkles. She cared about my art more than anyone else. She setup the sweetest little desk. The perfect light. For God’s sake. She hauled that massive bed to me. The one she made. My Saint Francis of Assisi.
That damn devil religion blinded me. I traded mystery for security. I traded loving for knowing. Foolishly.
I needed to go through a hell to get it all out of me. I’m only thankful for that – finally now being free. But I wish it didn’t happen so painfully. Those were not wasted years but I could have experienced them sooo differently. So much more pleasantly. If only I had believed. Who I really was and how much we are all safe and Loved!
It wasn’t until so much later when I asked God why.
Because I left her for only one reason – a night where I had a dream. Where we were in bed side by side. And then the “rapture” happened – as commonly depicted. All the people flying up into the sky. But not me. And after I looked over to her, I heard God say, “Is she worth it?” Then I woke up. And fear gripped me so hard, so terrified, that I started packing and left her right away. “You know if you leave, you can never come back.” I cried for weeks.
Still not over it. Over her.
But this is where we are at. So I was very confused when after I heard the best news, God brought me to people that challenged my views.
First at least two that used to be part of an organization that sounds like it could be categorized as based on supporting conversion “therapy” (I shudder to even speak of it like that). I met them after their journey of leaving that group and repenting.
Then I learned one of them was in a relationship with a married man. And the married man’s spouse knew and was ok. This married man who was still actively involved in a religious organization. Not out.
That one was more difficult for me. Because of my hurts.
Then the leader of a different organization that advocated for people who loved God but also who had chosen to create a safe space where they would not be talked down to for decisions about which other adults they choose to share their bodies with.
That one broke me. I, even I who had just experienced the most powerful spiritual revelation of my life, even I couldn’t go there then. Because it was too much at the time. To think I threw away years I could have had with someone I never quit missing.
That’s why I understand now when people come against me. They say it’s based on intellectual theology. But no, the deepest issues of their heart are being called. And those wounds are very scary. To look at all you didn’t have to lose. Believe me, that is hell. That is weeping and gnashing of teeth. I know that all too well. It very nearly kills you.
That’s why I have to give my Dr. Jonathan my peace, my blessing. Although I tried, I now understand why in many ways he couldn’t go further. It would have killed him maybe sooner. To see and know all that could have been had he and others he loved known differently.
Maybe sometimes we really don’t want to take it. We’d rather have the “security” of lies than to risk everything for real life that offers no formula or guarantees beyond “Jesus Loves Me”.
I almost didn’t make it. I almost turned to walk back to just the outside edges of Egypt for a little bit of a sense of “security”. But thankfully, ironically, I had already lost so much that losing a little more wasn’t as scary.
That’s what I think it means when Jesus said it’s more difficult for those who feel comfortably cocooned in their choice of safety. And I really might have traded all of the true goodness I’ve since experienced if I ever had the opportunity. Honestly; I hate how painful this journey has been. Even as I am eternally thankful for what it has brought me.
But even that I know I can’t take credit for – any crowns belong at His feet for sure because I have fought every revelation almost all the way. This is not about how great I am. Definitely. This is only about always new Mercies and Love without end. Amen. But God. That’s it.
I finally asked. After being led to that place. After finally being assured it was okay to look. I finally asked.
“Why did you let me believe I was going to hell if I didn’t leave her, God?”
“Because she would have broken your heart and I didn’t want that for either of you. I didn’t want you to live with her breaking your heart. I didn’t want her to live with breaking your heart. So I got you out of there the only way you would have gone – your fear of a hell. Otherwise you loved her so much that you never would have left. Even if it was best for both of you to be apart for a time. For healing. Not for hurting.”
Blew. My. Mind.
I never expected that answer in a million religious years. Changed everything for me. Just like the previous big revelation. Where you know something on a level in your soul and spirit that no one can argue with you. Well, they can try. But just like our brother long ago said, “Once I was blind, but now I see.”
That’s why I have no interest in arguing. I know what I experienced as much as I know I need water and oxygen. I only share to encourage people to ask for themselves. Whatever they are dealing or wrestling with. I can’t say anything close to what Spirit is able to reveal. To your heart and even deeper. Where it matters most.
And so everything changed. Slowly but surely. As much as I could handle at a time. First that question. Me with a woman. So much more to say on that.
By the way, two women in the field. And two men in a bed. I don’t know, but interesting, no? Those examples. That Jesus chose. I always wonder if He did that purposefully. Probably so. I mean, He Is God. And He knows. How we’d still be talking about these things two thousand years later. Still wrestling.
That IS my God. The Master of what we refer to as the chiastic structure. Teaching us either way. Wherever we are. With whatever we give Him. Like a prism. Reflecting back to us. Refracting. Dispersing. No matter what.
I always go back to the parable of the rich young ruler. Jesus was trying to help him see the audacity. I don’t believe He was ever communicating that we need to give away all our money.
Same with me. With my situation. God loved me the same. As I turned and walked away. As I incorrectly but understandably felt I had to rely on my strength. Disguised as well-meaning religiosity.
I was free that day. I could have stayed. But I didn’t know it. And that was the point all along. That was what needed to get out of me. In order for me to really and fully love as I always wanted and intended.
It is funny to me now. That we only ever had one true argument. It was because she told me that she thought it was okay to kiss other people.
Even in the beginning, the very beginning, she asked and thereby suggested that this could just be a weekend thing. I was incredulous at the time! Extremely offended.
How like God that I wish she would give me the time to let me tell her how I now see it so differently.
Not even by choice. The solution presented itself as an “unsolvable” “problem”. Where I loved and wanted more than one person. And I could never choose between them for very long. So different. Each brought something completely different to the relationship. And I couldn’t ever make peace in my mind with choosing one at the expense of losing the other.
I even asked God about it for years. Over and over. When it suddenly occurred to me that maybe He mercifully wasn’t confirming anything for me because I was asking the wrong question. Maybe I didn’t have to choose. Maybe I even had God’s blessing to love both.
Again, my mind blown.
And then the unfolding of all that could possibly mean. Even now still fitting those ideas on for size. To see how they measure up. Because as always, it seems the only answer I ever get is, “What do you want?”
That’s where the rubber hits the road. Not what can I get? But, what do I want? Radical responsibility in one sense. The utmost respect for the people involved. No longer tools. No longer means to an end. But no, everything.
I now see the Bible as a collection of stories about how people see God. It starts and ends similarly. With Jesus in the middle telling us the truth.
What if the only real adultery is trading how God sees us for how others see us? Or even how we see ourselves?
What if marrying and having children is mainly an exercise intended to teach us about how much God loves us in spite of all our screw-ups?
We even say these little defenseless babies that do nothing but take from us and shit, piss, and throw up – we call them perfect. And I do believe they are. But what if that is more a picture to help us see how God loves us? What we mean to Trinity? Than a social construct to be worshipped and idolized for what it proposes to offer on its own and of itself.
What if some people can learn those lessons without getting married? Without having kids?
What if that’s what Jesus was getting at when He talked about us being like the angels – where no one is married or given away in marriage. Because they don’t need that in order to know as they are known.
So then maybe we can see how single people are not failures at life. My dear Jonathan when I knew him, myself, and many others. Because this life and these experiences are setup just to help us see and know one thing: how much God loves us. They are not an end in themselves.
So I can relax. I can enjoy the time someone chooses to spend with me. I can decide how much of myself I want to share with them. And I can let people come and go. As they need and want to.
And none of it means I am a bad person just because others don’t understand or my freedom makes them think and feel too much; threatens the comfort they’ve settled for in terms of the chokehold they’ve established through control in order to avoid their fear of feeling any vulnerability. Because they don’t yet fully understand who and Whose they are. Completely eternally safe. Already included. ALL IN.