Lenten Love Stories #5: The Slow Falling

In telling the love story between me and God, I’ve been sharing the big dramatic moments, like you do. You tell your friends about the moment you looked into your beloved’s eyes and knew, or the first time you put words to your feelings, or your first date or your wedding ceremony.

But love is so much more than the big memories. It’s the things that seem tiny at the time, but bring a smile to your face whenever you think of them. Yes, that too was love.

Jesus sent his disciples out to harvest what others had sown. The disciples watched people fall in love with Jesus over and over, but they’d already been falling for a long time. Other people had planted the seeds that would slowly grow green toward the light, would flower and bear fruit, would someday become ripe.

So many people have sown tiny seeds in my heart. Some of them are not around anymore to see the blossoms. Some of them I’ve fallen out of touch with. Some of them I never even met. I’m sure most of them are ignorant of any beauty they birthed in me. I know they didn’t see it happening at the time. As I’ve said many times, I’m a really slow learner spiritually. I’m sure watching for the seeds to sprout in me would have been about as much fun as watching actual grass grow.

One of the sowers was my dad, who told me stories about Jesus he heard from his mom, who heard them from Rose DeWitt, a middle-aged black lady who was once their neighbor in the projects of New York City. Heirloom seeds from this home-grown theologian who never held a degree but taught herself Hebrew, who invited my Jewish relatives to her Christmas feast, eyes shining from gazing on the face of Love.

One of the sowers was my mom, who dragged me to church in those early days, got me hooked on singing Psalms and the strange rituals of liturgy. Who responded to my urgent (and foolish) spiritual questions with a grace that never discouraged me from faith.

One of them was my first boss, Becky, who in addition to showing me some really great reading material really showed me what the Holy Spirit looked like in someone’s life during my teenage years. Endlessly patient through all my teenage screw-ups, honest and kind while sharing her faith, she was a true role model for me.

One of them was a young Christian I knew casually online named Trevor, who responded to my first public confession of faith not with shock at my rough language but with joy and excitement that I was so close to belief and a little friendly pressure to make a decision for Jesus.

One of them was my college Chaplain, whose office I visited at least once a term to sob out my life issues, anxieties about my family, my romantic prospects, and my purpose in life. She gave me a lot of great advice, too much of which I ignored for too long, and mostly she just listened, providing a safe place for me to wrestle with things I wouldn’t have told another soul on campus.

One of them was a woman I met online named Lasa who eventually invited me to stay at her house. She is the one who convinced me, somehow, that I wasn’t going to choose the wrong life path and end up on God’s bad side forever. As she put it, “God loves you too much to let you go.” Plus, she sent me my very first study Bible.

So much sweet fruit in my life now (such as there is) ultimately comes down to these people, who broke ground for my faith, who nurtured and protected it in the early days like a precious sapling. I hope one day they’ll get to know what those thousands of tiny moments meant, how all the love they lavished on me made harvest even possible.

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