Jonathan Foreman said that the Church is made up of “the dropouts, the losers, the sinners, the failures and the fools.” I like that.
My friend, Bing, always tells me that the best way to know Jesus is to leave the church for a while. To get away from the congregation and go back to the basics, to a personal and real encounter. In other words: a friendship. I’ve since returned to the church. I don’t always agree with it but I do love it. I don’t always like the culture of the people but I’ve made my decision to love them, forgive them and be kind to them because that’s what God did for me. And I will never be above God.
I am still learning and I’m still a work-in-progress and I am most definitely still a sinner. But in the aftermath of all that has happened between me and the church, I’m learning to re-define love for myself.
I’m a big fan of predictably happy.
I want to be with someone because of their warmth. I want to be drawn in by an easiness, a simplicity; by a persona that actually wants to be figured out. Someone who will eagerly engage in conversation – and, more importantly, in life! – with me. I want banter and verbal chemistry and the chance to be wooed by a smile that can embrace me in something that feels a lot like home.
And I want that for always.
Not just when it’s convenient. Not just when their day is good. Not just because there’s a camera pointed at their face. I want the promise of a smile for always. There’s nothing more pleasant than facing the absurdities of life with someone whose got the disposition of a sunbeam. Not unreasonable unnatural happiness but a chronic real and lasting kind that probably only exists in a person who is confident in who they are.
It’s not about holding doors open or buying nice gifts; not about being active in your local church or the ability to throw a compliment my way whenever my bruised ego needs a fix. Those things are wonderful but they’re also the external trappings of fleeting romance.
I want heart and soul – your capacity to extend grace, forgiveness, compassion and, the most endearing quality of all: kindness. A man’s ability to spend and invest his love on everyone, to go above and beyond without prejudice, without any sort of selfish ambition, is probably the only thing I’d actually pray for with intention because of the rarity of its nature. Heart, I believe, is the only real standard. The only thing in the world that truly lasts.