A Love Story
by Laurie Hills
I met a man who looked at me. No, he looked into me. He knew, and I knew that I had looked all my life for my real self, for fulfillment, and I was lost because I was out of looking places. His eyes were full of the kind of thing that melted my long since frozen soul. I even tentatively ventured to believe that this was actually the kind of thing people looked for when they said they were looking for love. When he finally spoke, I was eager for his words. He said, ‘I know who you were meant to be. Only give your permission and I will make it so.’ His eyes continued to hold mine like a vice. He had such drawing power and his proposal such promise, that every part of me wanted to shout, ‘Yes!’ Every part, that is, except the part of me that said, ‘Don’t kid yourself. It might work for someone else, this magic trick he has up his sleeve. But you know you well enough to know that you’re a jinx!
What was he doing to me with his eyes? He must know my thoughts, for as his gaze penetrated ever deeper into my relaxing soul; I felt the self-hatred trickling away. And I knew he didn’t consider me a jinx. I said with a freedom surprising to me, ‘Yes, yes, as soon as possible, but how can we manage this and how long will it take?’ Nagged by memories of old and not-so-old failures, I was totally unprepared for his answer. ‘It is done. The moment your heart assented, before you spoke a word, it was done. The emptiness of self has been replaced by my Life. I am the Source of Life. This is what you were always meant to be, a container for my Life.’
I was, of course, glad to know this, but I had expected a feeling of elation, or strength, or fulfillment. That’s what I had expected – a feeling of fulfillment. Oh, there would be no escaping this Life, for he was reading my thoughts again. ‘You are disappointed? You want a feeling as a sign that I’m here? My love, believe what I tell you. I have died and carried your empty self with me to that death so I could live my Life in you.’ I believed and thought about what my Beloved had said was truth. When I found that I couldn’t believe, I cried, ‘I do believe, but help thou mine unbelief!’ and that loved Life within gave peace.
Then one day the words He had told me to believe exploded into meaning. Things often happen that way these days, unplanned things. And I shouted, ‘He did save me from myself and He did put his own Life in its place.’ And I felt all the good emotions that I ever dreamed of feeling, and they were so strong that they demanded to be shared with friends who had tried to help me fine who I was.
As the intimacy of this Good that had come began to grasp my consciousness, I said to my Beloved, ‘I must try to make myself look and act better because you are living in me. I will try to find ways.’ He was silent, and I was busy striving to improve the image I projected; for, after all, I was a Life carrier. My bearing must demonstrate my importance. I looked, I inquired, I tried, and I tired. I experimented and I failed and wondered why he was so silent. He should be helping me. After all, this was to show him how much I appreciated what He had done for me.
I remember those as joyless days. I was so busy outside trying to create ways to make him proud that He had chosen to live in me and let others see my high estate that I had had no time for enjoying him, as I had in the beginning. Life was becoming almost as it was before. One day I came rushing home with great and high expectations. I went flying to him, waving a paper with ten rules beautifully lettered. These, I had been told by a religious-looking man, if kept, would please any good man. He saw them and said quietly, ‘Will you keep them?’ ‘Yes! Said I, exhilarated at the thought of a good solid task to tackle. I memorized the rules first. They were simple. All that striving and here was the answer. Why hadn’t I run into that man before, and what did my Beloved mean, ‘Would I keep them?’ – just ten simple rules!! I had to skip the first one since it wasn’t as solid as I had thought. I simply didn’t know whether I had any other gods before him. Sometimes I couldn’t be sure I wasn’t my own god. I had similar problems with the others. Why was life becoming so complicated and unfulfilled again?
I went to him. ‘I’m a failure. I promised I’d keep those ten rules; I can’t keep one.’
His answer, ‘No one ever has, except me. My Life being lived in you fulfils them all.’
Hurt and pouting, I said, ‘Is there nothing I can do to please you?
‘Are you through trying, beloved? He asked.
I sank down before him with a weary nod of assent. ‘Then I’m pleased,’ he said. As if he had kept me off balance long enough, he hastened to answer my quizzical look with, ‘When my love for you prompted me to die for you, I took everything of you with me into death. When we resumed life again, the burden was gone. I have made you pleasing to me. You had to do nothing but want me – for me to live in you. Now I have waited for you to want me to live though you. Do you want me to?’
A trapped feeling began to grip me – almost a fear. Fear! Fear! In the face of such great love? What could I fear? Losing control? Maybe. Violation of my personhood? That’s a laugh. I was no person before he came, and I knew He was no violator. Was my fear that this couldn’t be for real? I blurted out, ‘You mean to tell me there is no price-tag attached to anything you do for me? Life’s not like that!!’
‘Death,’ came his cryptic answer.
My reeling thoughts scurried after the meaning. There it was! His was a life I couldn’t understand, because the life I had thought was life, was death. Staggering!! Out of this world!! Could I stand it, this Life? No more striving to be something, because another was already everything in me, through me? My competitive soul already suffered at this prospect.
I thought he must soon become impatient. He had asked that question so long ago and I had not answered. I looked and he seemed to have eternity to wait. But I didn’t ‘One more question. If I choose, could I now or ever escape your fearful love?’
‘You are sealed,’ he said with finality.
‘But if I can’t do anything!’
‘Ah, my love, you are my Life in the world. You may come begging for less action; and do? Have you forgotten the time you first knew I loved you? I did tell you one thing, but you found you needed me even to do that.’
Ruefully I thought, ‘How could I forget that struggle? It was a hard thing to believe when you wanted a feeling.’ Believe – yeah! It figures! A love that has done everything for me so he can be everything through me leaves nothing but to believe this preposterous presumptuous truth.
And then as if to mockingly tease a little, he said, ‘and the most presumptuous thing of all you may not believe for a little while. I’m preparing you to rule the universe with me through all eternity. Are you ready? Can you take the preparation?’ And then I remembered the night I asked Him to finish the sentence; but He had finished the sentence, hadn’t He?!! He is the only Person there is!
‘Ready? Oh, my God, you have made me ready. Take the preparation? You will take it in me. Who or what is there beside Thee?