Student Ignation Reflections
October 15, 2009
There is a somewhat well-known quote by Charles Morgan that reads: “There is no surprise more magical than the surprise of being loved. It is God’s finger on man’s shoulder.” I like this quote because it reminds me that God’s love can turn up in unexpected places. The love of God is always surprising, and we can feel that love and feel God’s touch in our lives even when we’re not looking for it.
I have a very close friend—whom I will call Daniel—who lives in Colorado, but with whom I have kept up daily contact since coming to college. We don’t get to see each other as often as we would like, but I feel that my day is incomplete if we don’t touch base at some point. Over the course of the five years that we have known each other, we have revealed much of our lives to each other, and we have shared things with each other that would be difficult to share with anyone else.
Every time I reveal something new about myself, there is a risk involved. I always try to be honest with him, but I am always afraid when I must admit to being flawed—to not being a perfect person—that he will be disgusted or frightened, and decide that he would be better off without our friendship. This is the vulnerability that comes from being deeply honest with another person, from revealing oneself without hiding anything, and hoping that one will be accepted, even though one is imperfect.
To me, it is a beautiful miracle that he has never left me. He has never decided that I am simply too much of a mess to be worth his time. He has been honest in return—whether that honesty means reminding me that I am only human, or admitting that I need to work on some areas of my life—but he has never left me, and has never refused to accept me for who I am. He has never stopped loving me.
It very suddenly struck me today that this is the way God loves. The thought took me by surprise. I am a theology major who is involved in Campus Ministry and the CCSJ, as well as my home parish. Daniel was baptized Lutheran but gave up on religion nearly altogether after some bad church experiences. Faith is usually an area of friendly argument between us, and I always hoped that God had put me into Daniel’s life in order to bring him back to God. Today, I wonder if I have been looking at it wrongly the whole time. Maybe I’m not supposed to bring Daniel back to God; maybe God put Daniel into my life so that he could illustrate for me just a small piece of the unconditional love of God. I know that God works in mysterious ways, but I must admit that I was surprised to suddenly find God reaching out to me through a person I would never have expected God to use. Daniel’s love has always been stronger than my flaws. How much stronger must God’s love be, and how could I ever imagine that he would leave me in my imperfection? Through Daniel, I can begin to understand, in some small way, what is meant by God’s unconditional love. Through him, I know the “magical…surprise of being loved,” and I can feel the wonderful joy of “God’s finger on [my] shoulder.”
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Home: Parker, CO—Ponderosa High School
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