I’m beginning to see clearly – with a bit of “2020 vision” – some things that were not at all obvious to me in 1975.
That thought occurred to me Friday evening, as Gerri and I went out to dinner…to mark a special occasion in our lives. January 17 is the day we met, you see, way back in 1975. And it sure was fun sharing our memories of that “ordinary” day, one neither of us recalled in the moment as being particularly auspicious.
We chatted about the tiny, seemingly insignificant set of circumstances which first brought us together in the Griesedieck Hall cafeteria. I was brand-new to the school – a second semester transfer to SLU. And I was looking for a friendly face, just so I wouldn’t have to eat dinner alone.
Gerri happened to be seated with her RA (an infrequent dining companion) and a couple of other young women from her floor. I recognized the RA as someone who’d done me a kindness a few days before, and in an uncharacteristic feat of derring-do, I invited myself to join their circle. The rest, as they say, is history.
“History,” perhaps, but not “fate.” Not a pre-ordained match, made in heaven. But certainly an invitation…for both of us, and each of us…to enter into something profound.
That’s what you see, with 2020 vision, when you look back on 45 years of an ever-deepening relationship. You see how you’ve been blessed by the Other. How you’ve grown (hopefully) into someone better than you would have otherwise been – had it not been for her love, her creativity, her patience, her forbearance, her forgiveness.
Looking back, I don’t think I knew – as a 17-year-old – that I wanted or needed that gift. But somehow God knew. God knew, and extended to us an invitation to enter in. And from that simple start, we’ve been spinning out the threads of our lives, intertwining their strands for 45 years now (and counting) – and marveling at the tapestry they formed, in all its exquisite detail.
All that, emerging from chance encounter on an ordinary day.
We hear about a similar encounter in Sunday’s gospel. John the Baptist is out by the Jordan doing his baptism thing, when (perhaps unexpectedly) he “saw Jesus coming toward him.” Surprisingly, then, in the next three verses John notes twice of Jesus: “I did not know him.” An odd thing to say about a cousin. But it could be an entirely accurate thing to say of God: “I did not know him,” this “Lamb of God.”
Gazing through the lens of my 2020 vision, I think I am inclined to appreciate John the Baptist’s insight a bit more deeply today than I would have been in 1975.
Perhaps this “Lamb of God” is the gentle One…the inviting One…the One who comes to us on ordinary days, disguised as our life.
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy & Merciful One.