I find it interesting that my last post was during Holy Week in the season of Lent and now it is Advent. Both are seasons of reflection and preparation for marvelous times. I also find it interesting that the last post was about loving too much and I sit here this morning victim of the same circumstance and wondering how I will get myself out of this situation.
I heard a sermon a few years ago that has always stuck with me and the underlying theme in the sermon was really about expressing love openly .The preacher asked what would have happened if Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus had loved Jesus openly. The gospel of John records the story that after Jesus’ crucifixion, Joseph asked for Jesus’ body to bury it and tells us that Joseph was a secret disciple of Jesus because he feared the repercussion of the Jews. Joseph was accompanied by Nicodemus whom John tells us had visited Jesus under the cover of night, also implying that his following of Jesus was not commonly known. I was and have been arrested by this premise since then. In fact, I have been having an inner dialogue on the notion that secret love is no love at all.
Secret love is no love at all. As much as I enjoy (get life from truthfully) Olivia Pope and her onscreen love affair with President Grant in Scandal, there is a piece of me that says that is not really love…or certainly not fully realized love. Back rooms, whispered conversations, stolen glances…that is not love, yet so many times that is the situation in which we find ourselves and I am not only talking about extramarital affairs. Sometimes we find ourselves in situations where both people are single and there are no obvious barriers to a public declaration of love, yet that declaration never really comes. There are no status updates, no pictures, no acknowledgement, yet there is a seeming connection. No doubt, Jesus’ inner circle knew on some level the connection between Joseph and Nicodemus and maybe others but if pressed to describe it publicly, I imagine they would not be able to do so beyond the superficial. Well, they eat lunch together, they have a lot of the same friends or they attend the same church. Surface connections only. No depth. No substance.
Now that is not to say that you have to publish the play book of your relationship. You do not have to announce every action, publish every text or relay every phone call and conversation, but if you cannot acknowledge that you are in relationship or that you like, love, enjoy or admire her or him, if you won’t sit next to, touch or talk to her or him when you are in the presence of others, inner circle or otherwise, then it calls every private moment into question. At least I think it does.
See this is where I find myself after all these years of inner dialogue…equivocating on the subject. Is my heart so damaged that I am willing to accept a flawed version of love simply for the sake of relationship? I don’t think so, because I know this is not what I want but it is what I have accepted. I have been unwilling to articulate that this level of relationship is unacceptable and in the final analysis, silence equals complicity. And again, hear me when I say that I am not regretful of the things that have transpired. Just like Joseph’s and Nicodemus’ actions and interactions with Jesus were, the moments shared, the conversations, the vulnerabilities exposed were necessary things. They had value and meaning and a place in the story. But now there is a new possibility, a different desired outcome and that demands different actions because doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome is insane. I don’t want to be crazy in love. Sorry Beyoncé.
At Lent, when this thing began, it was shiny and new. Now it is advent and the shine has dulled so it is time to evaluate this thing. Can the shine be restored or is it time to find something new? I don’t know the answer today, but when I do, rest assured it will not be a secret.