I read Donald Miller for the first time about five years ago. Blue Like Jazz had been out for a little while but hadn’t really picked up steam, I’m not even sure how I got my first copy. For me, the book was cool air in dry lungs. For the next few years, most of my birthday/Christmas gifts for others were copies of this book; if I had the money, I’d buy it for everyone I know. I’ve seen Don a few times since then, he remains one of my favorite authors/speakers/thinkers. Most days, I alternate between wanting to write exactly like him and trying to make sure I don’t.
For a few reasons, I think about this quote a few times a week. It’s just so beautiful.
“I’m not scared of you, my love, I am scared of me.”
“What great gravity is this that drew my soul toward yours? What great force, that though I went falsely, went kicking, went disguising myself to earn your love, also disguised, to earn your keeping, your resting, your staying, your will fleshed into mine, rasped by a slowly revealed truth, the barter of my soul, the soul, that I fear, the soul that I loathe, the soul that: if you will love, I will love. I will redeem you, if you will redeem me? Is this our purpose, you and I together to pacify each other, to lead each other toward the lie that we are good, that we are noble, that we need not redemption, save the one that you and I invented of our own clay?
I’m not scared of you, my love, I am scared of me.
I went looking, I wrote a list, I drew an image, I bled a poem for you. You were pretty, and my friends believed I was worthy of you. You were clever, but I was smarter, the only one liable to be led by you. You see, love, I did not love you, I loved me. And you were only a tool I used to fix myself, to fool myself, to redeem myself. And though you’ve taught me to lay my hand in yours, I walk alone, for I cannot talk to you, lest you talk it back to me, lest I believe that I am not worthy, not deserving, not redeemed.
I want desperately for you to be my friend. But you’re not my friend; you have slipped up warmly to the person I wanted to be, the person I pretended to be, and I was your Jesus and, you were mine. Should I show you you who I am, we may crumble. I am not scared of you, my love, I am scared of me.
I want to be known and loved anyway. Can you do this? I trust by your easy breathing that you are human just like me, that you are fallen like me, that you are lonely, like me. My love, do I know you? What is this gravity that pulls us so painfully toward each other? Why do we not connect? Will we forever be fleshing this out? And how will we with words, narrow words, come into the knowing of each other? Is this God’s way of meriting grace, of teaching us of the labyrinth of His love for us, in degrees, that which He is sacrificing to join ourselves to Him? Or better yet, has He formed our being fractional so that we might conclude one great hope, plodding and sighing and breathing into one another in such a great push that we may break into the known and being loved, only to cave into a greater perdition and fall down at His throne still begging for our acceptance? Begging for our completion?
We were fools to believe that we would redeem each other.
Were I some Eve, to wake and find myself resting at your rib, to share these things that God has done, to walk with you through the garden, you counselling my timid Steps, my bewildered eye, my heart so slow to love, so careful to love, so sheepish that you stepped up your aim and became a man. Is this what God intended? That though he made me from you rib, it is I who is making you, humbling you, destroying you and in so doing revealing Him.
Will we be ashes before we are one?
What gravity is this that drew my heart toward yours? What great force collapsed my orbit, my lonesome state? What is this that wants in me the want in you? Don’t we go to each other with yielded eyes, with cumbered hands and feet, with clunky tongues? This deed is unattainable! We cannot know each other!
I am quitting this thing, but not what you think. I am not going away.
I will give you this, my love, and I will not bargain or barter any longer. I will love you, as sure as He has loved me. I will discover what I can discover and though you remain a mystery save God’s own knowledge, what I disclose of you I will keep in the warmest chamber of my heart, the very chamber where God has stowed himself in me. And I will do this to my death, and to death it may bring me.
I will love you like God, because of God, mighted by the power of God. I will stop expecting your love, demanding your love, trading for your love, gaming for your love. I will simply love. I am giving myself to you, and tomorrow I will do it again. I suppose the clock itself will wear thin its time before I am ended at this altar of dying and dying again.
God risked himself on me. I will risk myself on you. And together we will learn to love, and perhaps then, only then, understand this gravity that drew Him, unto us.”