The Lover

I've always resonated with God as Parent -- like the woman that sprang from the seat next to me in worship this morning to answer the cry of her child in the next room. She has been Mother. She has answered my call and prayers. She has been there even when I don't recognize Her presence, simply because she has taught me to live in Her way.

However, today, as I sat in the silence of Quaker worship, I was urged to consider relationship. Through the rebellious communal silence, I wondered with others about what it means to be together. Not only to gather. Not only to worship. To be together in that way that pushes us to love. To love both the good and the bad. To love when it seems impossible and unexpected. To love because this is truly a gift from God.

It was in this silent pause that I embraced God as Lover. This does a number on my inclusive understanding of God as Feminine, because the Lover goes deep. There is penetration and ecstasy. This is something saints have offered. I always thought it was a little strange. I don't want Jesus to be my boyfriend. I don't want to sing songs of syrupy sweet loving adoration. Or at least, I don't only want that. I want the Lover to go deep inside of me. I want to feel things with the Lover that I have never felt before. I want the Lover to open me to wonders that I have never imagined. Of course, I would be wrong if I narrowed the Lover merely to erotic love. That's not what enough.

To experience the Lover is to experience a passion that cannot be only sexual or drug-induced euphoria (I just saw that movie that denounces religion and openly admit that I don't know what to do with the pot-smoking church in Amsterdam). It's to carve out a space. That's what I noticed about the place I sat. There was an open space in the center of our room. It reminded me of sitting in circles in my seminary chapel. I forgot how much I missed carving out that central space for God. I forgot how much I loved looking up not to see a pulpit or altar -- but to see another person. To see that person across that space and to love her. That's the experience of the Lover. There is a space there. It may not have a clear shape but it is a space where we can see each other clearly and celebrate the divine connection between us. That's what I want to remember today. I want to create that space in all my relationships. I want to recognize the divine presence in each of them.

And in doing this, I want to celebrate the Lover who I see revealed in those that teach me about love. I want to carve out that space as it has been carved out for me. Because somehow, I have been loved. Someone took my hand last night and asked, "What can I do for you?" Not because I needed anything. Not because he could do anything to make me happier. He asked this question because he cared. It's his favorite question. He asks it constantly. I have been annoyed by it. I have turned it back to him to ask what he needs. However, it wasn't until I sat in silence this morning and saw that space that was given to me that I saw that this is what the Lover is. I can't do it alone, no matter how I might think I am the Lover. I am not just the Lover. I need that depth that feels like it could rip me apart. I need that awareness that it can be done for me. I need to trust that love and let it be. This is what I'm going to think about God today. As I do so, this song calls to me as it did to the community I treasured this morning. At the close of worship, we sang these words:

Dear Friends, Dear Friends,
Let me tell you how I feel.
You have given me your treasure.
I love you so.

Dear friends, I love you so. That's what I hear from God today. I will treasure this as I treasure all of the relationships I share. I'm going to look for that space and recognize what God is doing for me.

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