There are people you meet who you instantly know are meant to be close friends. You feel closer than you have any reason to, based on the length of your acquaintance. It’s the sense that there’s something within you reaching out to something in them, which is captured by the greeting, Namaste. When two people bow with pressed hands and greet each other this way, the Divine within each greets the Divine within the other. Alternatively, it can be interpreted as saying, “May our minds meet,” which comes to much the same thing.
It reminds me of the line from the psalms, “Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me.” I usually think of this as the Spirit of God calling to a receptive place deep within us, but given that we are bearers of the Divine image and Spirit, you could extend it to horizontal relationships as well as the vertical. It sounds like being in love, doesn’t it, being bowled over by waves and breakers.
Last Sunday I got to see one of those new/old friends, whom I’d met last summer at a Franciscan gathering. This time he had his wife and daughter along, and we met for church and then went to brunch. When the service was over and I asked my friend what he was in the mood for, he was definite: “A Bloody Mary.” So we went to a place on the lake, and he treated me and another dear friend to a splendid brunch. His daughter reminds me of myself thirty years ago, and his wife is a spirited woman who struck me as strong, capable and gutsy. I had no trouble imagining her turning fifty and spending the year coloring her hair every shade of red she could find.
It was a lot of fun, but it was also something beyond fun. As I sat next to my friend and his family in church I felt a surge of joy, so honored that he would make a point of visiting me, so delighted by who he is. I have several friends like this, men and women I’ve fallen into a kind of non-romantic, non-erotic love with. It mirrors the experience of falling for God himself, and how God falls for us.
As I sat in that pew, a thought struck me: When the work of redemption is complete, that’s how we’ll feel about everyone. Not just the people with whom we have a natural affinity, but those who currently bore, mystify and antagonize us. Because now we see in a mirror, darkly, but then our vision will be perfected and we’ll see as God sees. Once we have that kind of clarity, we will be as deeply in love with our neighbor as God is now.
It was a perfect day: sunny and warm, with great food by the lake and new/old friends. But the best part was getting a peek through the veil, and a glimpse of God’s intention for us. And if that includes Bloody Marys, I know a few people who won’t be disappointed.