The One I Love.

“This one goes out to the one I love”.

From “The One I Love” by R.E.M.

One of the best books I have read this year is “Blue Like Jazz” by Donald Miller.  The passage below is probably the most beautiful thing I have digested in years.  It comes from a monologue for a play Donald Miller wrote called “Polaroids” which recounts a man’s life from birth to death. 

In the play the man and his wife experience tension after their son dies in a car accident.  Don Miller was originally going to portray the ugliness of divorce as a result of this tragedy.  He changed his mind, however, after a deep and meaningful conversation with one of his married friends whilst sat on the roof of a house.  

The reality is 50% of marriages in the UK end in divorce or separation.  I have friends who long to be married more than anything in the world.  I have other friends who wish the reality of their marriages was different to their daily experiences.  And, yet, there is the mystery of marriage being symbolic of something so much bigger.

“What great gravity is this that drew my soul toward yours?  What great force, that though I went falsely, went kicking, went disguising myself to earn your love, also disguised to earn your keeping, your resting, your staying, your will fleshed into mine, rasped by a slowly revealed truth, the barter of my soul, the soul that I fear, the soul that I loathe, the soul that: if you will love, I will love.  I will redeem you, if you will redeem me?  Is this our purpose, you and I together to pacify each other, to lead each other toward the lie that we are good, that we are noble, that we need not redemption, save the one that you and I invented of our own clay?

I am not scared of you, my love, I am scared of me.

I went looking, I wrote out a list, I drew an image, I bled a poem for you.  You were pretty, and my friends believed that I was worthy of you.  You were clever, but I was smarter, perhaps the only one smarter, the only one able to lead you.  You see, love, I did not love you, I loved me.  And you were only a tool that I used to fix myself, to fool myself, to redeem myself.  And though I have taught you to lay your lily hand in mine, I walk alone, for I cannot talk to you, lest you talk it back to me, lest I believe that I am not worthy, not deserving, not redeemed.

I want desperately for you to be my friend.  But you are not my friend; you have slid up warmly to the man I wanted to be, the man I pretended to be, and I was your Jesus and, you were mine.  Should I show you who I am, we may crumble.  I am not scared of you, my love, I am scared you me. 

I want to be known and loved anyway.  Can you do this?  I trust by your easy breathing that you are human like me, that you are fallen like me, that you are lonely, like me.  My love, do I know you?   What is this great gravity that pulls us so painfully toward each other?  Why do we not connect?  Will we be forever fleshing this out?  And how will we with words, narrow words, come into the knowing of each other?  Is this God’s way of meriting grace, of teaching us of the labyrinth of His love for us, teaching us, in degrees, that which he is sacrificing to join ourselves to Him?  Or better yet, has He formed our being fractional so that we might conclude one great hope, plodding and sighing and breathing into one another in such a great push that we might break through into the known and being loved, only to cave into a greater perdition and fall down at His throne still begging for our acceptance?  Begging for our completion?

We were fools to believe that we would redeem each other.

Were I some sleeping Adam, to wake and find you resting at my rib, to share these things that God has done, to walk you through the garden, to counsel your timid steps, your bewildered eye, your heart so slow to love, so careful to love, so sheepish that I stepped up my aim and became a man.  Is this what God intended?  That though He made you from my rib, it is you who is making me, humbling me, destroying me, and in so doing revealing Him. 

Will we be in ashes before we are one? 

What great gravity is this that drew my heart toward yours?  What great force collapsed my orbit, my lonesome state?  What is this that wants in me the want in you?  Don’t we go at each other with yielded eyes, with cumbered hands and feet, with clunky tongues?  This deed is unattainable!  We cannot know each other!

I am quitting this thing, but not what you think.  I am not going away.

I will give you this, my love, and I will not bargain or barter any longer.  I will love you, as sure as He has loved me.  I will discover what I can discover and though you remain a mystery, save God’s own knowledge, what I disclose of you I will keep in the warmest chamber of my heart, the very chamber where God has stowed Himself in me.  And I will do this to my death, and to death it may bring me.

I will love you like God, because of God, mighted by the power of God.  I will stop expecting your love, demanding your love, trading for your love, gaming for your love.  I will simply love.  I am giving myself to you, and tomorrow I will do it again.  I suppose the clock itself will wear thin its time before I am ended at this altar of dying and dying again.

God risked Himself on me.  I will risk myself on you.  And together, we will learn to love, and perhaps then and only then understand this gravity that drew Him, unto us”.

This one goes out to the one I love –  happy 12th anniversary.

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2 Responses to “The One I Love.”


  1. 1 brunettekoala November 29, 2009 at 2:33 am

    Awww…Happy 12th wedding anniversary to you and Bringonthejoy! Hope you enjoy seeing Santa on the train later!

  2. 2 Josephiah November 29, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    Happy Anniversary!

    I love that book – I think it’s one of an extremely short list of Christian books I can say I’ve truly enjoyed. His uncomplicated honesty about things makes it so accessible.

    J


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