Trenton and I, married July 9, 2003

Trent holds me in the hallway, my head against his chest and he tells me it’s going to be okay. Because I’m an author who struggles with anxiety, and Trent’s heartbeat is a promise through his shirt.

And he tells me that even if all my efforts fail, that I never will. “I’m so proud of you,” he says, and he prays over me, as I cry, the kids asleep down the hall, he prays that God will make me whole.

And isn’t this all any of us ever want? To be accepted as we are? Isn’t this the truest kind of love making? (tweet this)

The kind that inspires Pope Francis to embrace a severely disfigured man–a man rejected by society–the kind that inspires a Jewish man to let a young African man sleep on his shoulder in the subway because “I simply remembered the times my own head would bop on someone’s shoulder because I was so tired after a long day,” he recounted.

We all need compassion. We all fight battles, we all are desperate for kindness and there’s no philosophy or ideology that can express what a warm body can–the touch of a human in a world of automated messages–the touch that says You Are Not Alone.

Theology does not count if we have not love.

Without love, doctrine is but a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. (I do worry about the Pope–I worry that his messages are mixed up, that his Scripture has been humanized, that his heart bleeds so much for man that it’s forsaken the justice of an awesome and fearsome Lord) but when he holds close a broken man who’s been rejected, who’s never felt the love of Christ, this is the sole message the world hears: God sees you.

The same God who kneels in the sand and writes forgiveness in the sand, seventy times seven, and YES, he says–GO AND SIN NO MORE–but first, God dies. For all of us. So that we won’t have to, so that leaving our life of sin seems like nothing compared to the extravagance of the gift he’s given us.

Salvation starts with experiencing God’s love. It starts with a compelling, compassionate, divine act. In a world of hypocrisy, the greatest testimony is selflessness. 

Making love is not a sexual experience, but an act of devotion in which one only thinks of the other. Be it a physical gesture, such as letting a stranger sleep on your shoulder, or an act of intimacy between a broken wife and husband, it’s a giving, not a getting. 

And it’s what makes an unbelieving world, believe.

God’s kingdom come.