An all-consuming passion
It was a meaningless disagreement. Married couples have them all the time. I remember Danny's mom sharing once that she and his dad, Archie, argued about whether to take potato salad or macaroni salad to a picnic. They argued themselves into a silence that stretched into hours, finally looking at one another and breaking into gales of laughter over the absurdity of it all.
I don't remember what our argument was about. What I do remember is that it gave me the excuse I needed to run, and run I did, leaving Danny in a strip mall parking lot 40 miles from home.
I ran hard and fast, driving through the night back to where I had, for the first time in my short life, found peace and purpose.
Yes, I was angry. But there was more to it than simple anger. I wanted that idyllic period of our lives back. I wanted the simplicity of small town living. I wanted the first true friends I had ever made back in my life. But more than that, I wanted to be pursued. I figured if I ran, he would follow. It was, at its base, pure, unadulterated manipulation.
As I drove through that long dark night, Ben, all of 3, sleeping peacefully in the back seat, I imagined Danny's worry and angst when he returned home and found me gone. How long would it take him to figure out where I had gone? Was he pursuing me already, eating up the miles between us with a heavy foot on the accelerator? How far behind me was he? Would he overtake me at the next fueling stop?
Arriving at my destination with the sunrise, I presented myself at our friends' apartment, taking them completely by surprise. Welcomed, I was soon fed and put to bed, too exhausted to fully explain myself. Scant hours later, Barb was waking me up to take a phone call.
It was Danny. He'd found me. Well, not really. Barb had taken it upon herself to call him. He was waiting for me, at home. A midnight pursuit hadn't even occurred to him.
My plan was foiled. By the end of the day, Ben and I were back in the car, headed for home, my tail tucked firmly between my legs.
We were some time working through this escapade, I'll tell you. I wanted to be the all-consuming passion in his life and thought I would be if only he pursued me over hundreds of miles, in the process restoring what I thought had been lost when we left that small Wyoming town.
What I failed to understand then, and which, in 20/20 retrospect seems so very clear to me now, is that I already was the all-consuming passion in his life. Naivete, ignorance, immaturity and just plain faulty assumptions obscured the passion he showed every day -- enduring the heat of summer's sunshine and winter's bitter winds -- just to make a living for us.
On another day, another retrospective will available to all of us. For we are the Lord's own all consuming passion, and we live largely unaware of that truth. Just because he doesn't pursue us in obvious ways, chasing after us down the highways and byways of life, doesn't mean he isn't consumed with us. And one day, hopefully before it's too late, we'll recognize his passion and embrace it fully. The alternative is simply too bleak to consider.
Consider the depths of the promises.
"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am." John 14:1-3
"Come unto me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give rest." Matthew 11:28
"Your sins are forgiven." Luke 7:48
Consider the one who makes the promise.
"I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6
"I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life." Revelation 21:6
"Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world." John 1:29
Consider the passion that led him to the cross where he saw the faces of humanity with all of our inherent wickedness and declared, "Father, forgive them, they do not know what they are doing."Luke 23:34
Finally, consider the alternative. To look back, with 20/20 vision, finally able to see the many times he held out his hand and invited you to believe, to repent, to love, to follow, only to realize, all too fully and all too well, that those days cannot be revisited or recaptured, and that you have lost out forever on the one true passion that would have finally completed you.
"What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?" Matthew 16:26
Things you won't find in heaven: Rewind buttons