Not knowing

Nearly 25 years ago, no one would have predicted that Nancy and I would walk into a store, put on hats, grab sunglasses from the rack, and take a picture of ourselves with a phone.

Part of the problem, of course, is that no one, at least in my circles, would have predicted a digital camera in a cell phone which could upload a picture to flickr. Just too much to believe.

The other part of the problem, however is that the two of us doing the store part was not likely. 25 years ago today, we were a week away from our wedding, which meant that I was in Texas and Nancy was in Illinois. She still had no idea how silly, odd, absurd, iconoclastic and at times, weird, her soon-to-be husband was (and still is). He still had no idea how silly his soon-to-be wife was capable of being (at just the right rare moments). Our knowledge of each other was surprisingly limited (in every way).

Nancy, however, knew my family. I knew that my family knew her. What I knew of her I liked. I believed that she was the one.

After 25 years, I still believe that.

We know each other a lot better now, enough to know that there are still things we don’t know, still things we don’t understand, still things we can’t understand. Truth be told, there are still some things we can’t quite make sense of. Broccoli, for example. She actually likes it. But that doesn’t stop me from believing that she is the one. And it doesn’t stop me from believing that she exists.

That, of course, is what started me down this thinking road. There are times that people think about God. They struggle with believing him, in part, because they can’t quite figure out how a God who ____ could allow _____. As a result, they can’t quite believe in him.

But as I think about Nancy and me, my believing in her doesn’t rest in making sense of her or agreeing with her or understanding her. My believing in her rests in acknowledging that she is. There was a time that, as far as I knew, she wasn’t. I mean we spent years out of each other’s orbits, living in different states. Eventually, however, we saw each other, met each other, married each other, and started to get to know each other.

I think that we spend huge amounts of times trying to understand God, trying to understand how he fits with everything in our thinking. But I know that all my thinking changed when Nancy showed up. She changed my life, my choices, my delights, my pains, my everything. I didn’t figure it out before plunging in, the changes just grew and made sense (usually).

If I had waited until I understood Nancy (or myself) to make a commitment, to tie my future to hers, to marry, I would still be waiting. And I would not be who I am. And I would not have stood in Penney’s wearing a hat not mine, with a wife mine, taking a picture for a son of ours. And laughing at the sheer silliness.

Not knowing about God, we think, demands faith. Not knowing about our spouse, we know, is how life is. But need there be much difference?


3 responses to “Not knowing

  1. I forwarded this to someone who struggles with belief–just can’t get past some things. I pray it will be a help–join me.

  2. It reminds me of Augustine’s two conversions:

    His first was of the intellect. His heart took much longer.

    I like the analogy Jon. I am struck by how much our culture allows the heart to guide us with “spousal” love, letting the knowing unfold, but is more critical when we put our love of Him first.

  3. maybe i need an arranged marriage with God.

    that way i’d be forced into being loving towards this being who has been thrown together with me on this crazy journey.

    maybe that’s what belief would take. Necessary mutual respect / time / patience. Because otherwise it’s going to be a pretty bad deal for everyone involved.

    oh my head