I never really understood how I broke his heart, crushed as some would say. He knew my priorities from the beginning: “roommates, friends, then whatever else.” Despite my loneliness, I knew I did not want to find my comfort in a relationship.
He could always see that I was struggling, though. He could see I had feelings for him but could not abandon my beliefs. He could see that I was lost, not knowing between right and wrong, failing to just give up. This made some of our conversations heated.
We were in his car overlooking downtown San Diego – from where some would say “make-out point” – when the words “I envy you” slipped from his mouth.
“Why?” I said, sitting up straight, slightly raising my voice, and feeling him dig a little deeper into who I am.
“Because you’re a Christian…”
The shock eased me back into the seat of his car because there, at that moment, I remembered my beliefs are so deeply integrated into my being that to be apart from them is to be apart from myself.
Café Bassam is by far one of the best coffee shops to have a conversation in San Diego. Antique trinkets populate the shelves, and painted portraits decorate the walls. Dozens of round two person tables provide “spots on spots” for seating, and of course, the chai is choice.
A friend and I exchanged moments from the past few weeks with our mugs half-filled with Bassam’s regular chai. We hadn’t carried a long conversation for a little over a month, and much had happened.
After remembering claim after claim from smitten friends emerging from broken relationships, I complained, “I don’t get love. I don’t think it exists.”
“Of course you do!” His tone speaking to my doubt, and instantly, stories of his past relationship filled my mind.
“Oh yeah,” I mumbled. “You’ve seen it…”
“You know it exists,” he quickly interjected, and I had no choice but to confess,
“Yeah, I know it does. I just don’t get it so I’ll go with ‘I don’t think it exists.’”
The spring of 2011 was a rough time for me and my spirituality.
My philosophy class tinkered with my thought, and my friend – a philosophy and theology major – kept the questions rolling. Weeks passed, and the questions grew along with my lack of peace. One day, my confidence in God held strong, but the next morning, I would wake up doubting God’s existence.
As much as I tried to abandon God, I couldn’t escape. No matter what, I couldn’t escape the idea of God and my belief in God’s existence. Call it my background, what I was taught, or whatever. But as much I said, “I don’t think God exists,” somehow, I believed God was there. Somehow, I believed God was present.
Then, I encountered love. All the times I’ve been shown love are the times, I’ve been shown God. All the times I ran from the love of my family, the love of my friends, the love of others, are the times I have been running from God and God’s presence in love.
I had this dream once, one of those dreams where I was being chased – not by a dog, not by a bear, not by an alligator, and not by another person, but a dinosaur. A big-ass tyrannosaurus obliterated each of my footsteps behind me, ready to dismember my body bite by bite.
Approaching a cliff, the consciousness of the dream became aware to me, and I realized, “This is a dream, and once I hit the ground at the bottom of that cliff, I’ll wake up and be away from this monster.”
Flying off the edge of the cliff, I watched the ground from limbo. As the ground got closer, I anticipated the jolt that would bring me back to reality, and I hit the ground.
I didn’t wake up, and seeing the carnivore tumbling in the sky above me got me running once again.
Even when I thought I knew a means to slip away, my attempt failed, and I continued to be pursued.
Love is the relentless force out there chasing after me, and there is nothing I can do to escape from it. The more I pull away, the more it surprises me. It’s revealed moment after moment. It’s prolific. It’s everywhere. It’s God, God sweeping me off my feet and showing me there is something more, something better.