>Then

>Brad Paisley is my favorite male country singer and he has a new song out called “Then.” It’s a ballad about how he thought he loved this girl at different points in their relationship–first date, first kiss, proposal–but he is always surprised later to find that he loves her even more.

I could just see you, with a baby on the way
And I could just see you, when your hair is turning gray
What I can’t see is how I’m ever gonna love you more
But I’ve said that before

I was looking through my old journals a few weeks ago, and I couldn’t help snickering at some of the things I’d written about certain boys and about God. At various points I thought I would never love anyone else as much as so-and-so, and then…

When I think about my last relationship, I sometimes wonder if I actually loved him then, just because I can’t love him now. When I was younger, I was certainly convinced that I loved people that I actually didn’t. But I think that maybe I loved all of them to the extent of my ability at the time. I have a slight problem with holding on to the idea of “my first” and sometimes I want to throw out the past because it didn’t all turn out to be good, but God is helping me see that it’s okay to love in part as long as that’s the most I can do at the time.

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. (1 Corinthians 13:12)

In my education classes we are learning about conceptual change, and one of the ways to define change is as extension. If I think of my knowledge of how the world works and my ability to love as a fixed entity to attain, then I will be chronically frustrated because I will never get there, but if I think of it as something to build on, I will continuously reach new heights/depths.

The same goes for my knowledge of and relationship with God. When I was in high school, I thought that I had God figured out, but that got blown to pieces in college and I am not in a hurry to reassemble a rigid notion of Him. Now I hope that every time I think I’ve reached the depth of my knowledge of and intimacy with God, I can break through to the surface waters of another level yet. The sign of impending breakthrough (in every part of my life) is unfulfilled yearning, which makes some of my desires a little less scary.

“Far from realizing Him, you begin to realize nothing more than your own helplessness to know Him…and yet the more helpless you are, the more you seem to desire to seem Him and to know Him. The tension between your desres and your failure generate in you a painful longing for God which nothing seems able to satisfy.” (Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation)

I look forward to the day when I can look back and think about now as then…

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. (1 Corinthians 13:12)

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