Today I got to thinking isn’t it a cool idea, how God sustains you in existence? I mean I would just love to see like the giant beam of light that connects tiny little me to giant God, Creator of the Universe. And the work is all on His end. He literally chooses to give me life every single day as an act of love until I am ready to come home again, my real home. And boy some days do I long to see that beam get just a little shorter, the reality of heaven just a little bit closer, until I’ve absorbed all the light in the beam and I’m standing face to face with my Father once more.
So today I got to thinking about my parents as I was sitting with them both at the breakfast table. They celebrated their thirtieth wedding anniversary in October of last year. Now my dad is the type of guy who has a very sweet, ironic sense of humor. He just cracks himself up and to be honest with you all I do the exact same thing. Our love of puns is what bonds us because I truly believe that jokes are the Holy Spirit’s way of bonding people in Christian fellowship. In fact we can test out this theory right now:
Why was the turkey invited to join the band? Because he brought his own drumsticks!
Even if that joke didn’t do it for ya if you saw the enthusiasm my dad and I use to deliver these jokes you’d at least maybe crack a half smile to give us an A for a sincere effort in making you laugh.
So why am I musing about jokes-weren’t we talking about marriage?
We were. Because marriage is a holy sacrament and my parents have been together so long and faced so many of their trials together that they have a few clear rituals, rituals they return to in the midst of life’s storm that help them stay on track. One of my favorites to watch is my dad’s exercise and or going to the pool routine. Every time before he leaves the house he shares with my mom where he’s going and promises that he will try his best and avoid all the ladies who hit on him and remind them that he is a married man. Then my mom acts jealous and warns him that he better not! I personally enjoy this spectacle because to me it’s not just funny it is hilarious. The reason I find is so hilarious is the irony. I know for a fact that my father is a one woman man and would never leave my mom, and I know that my mom is never insecure in my father’s love because she trusts him around other women. This is their ritual, one of many, that strengthens the vows they made the day they chose each other over anyone else in the world.
It might be the finest play I have ever seen, and it’s been free to me my whole life. My siblings and I always smile when we hear that too because it’s great to see faithfulness play out between two people over the course of time. Imagine how much God must smile when He sees this romance of the vow. That must be why all the sacraments and mysteries of the church have ritual, so that we can call to mind the significance of our covenant with God and better understand the secrets at the center of His Fatherly Heart.
Since my last post was already about love I thought I’d put a juicy confession on here, I’m hoping it’s not too soon in my blogging career to do that. Having worked at a preschool my four-year-olds often debate about who is their favorite character in Disney’s Frozen and my own controversial opinion is that Olaf is the best character. Okay so maybe that’s not as juicy to my adult readers but in my defense your opinions on Frozen in that classroom could make you or break you.
But assuming that the only readers I have are adult ones I can up the ante a little. For example, what if I told you that the love of Olaf the Snowman reminds me of the love of God. Yup I have seen the movie so many times and been so constantly surrounded with the endless memorabilia that after giving it some thought not only is Olaf my favorite character but he demonstrates true love the best.
Before you throw down your computer in a rage at this Frozen blasphemy hear me out. Olaf is always optimistic, constantly providing comic relief by having his body fall apart all over the place, always reminding what he knows to be true: that everything will turn out fine. He sings his dreamy song of summer and is the first to dance with the trolls. He even stands in place of the minister when Christoff and Anna are set up by the trolls to be married.
But it goes even deeper than all of this. Watching the scene when both Elsa is being tormented by her own demons and Anna is slowly freezing to death, the one who comes to their rescue is Olaf. He starts with Anna. He goes to her room and unlocks the door with his nose. He lights the fire even though it causes him to melt and he holds her close. He then asks her the most important question of the movie: You don’t know a thing about love do you?
It’s the one line he says in the movie that is not a joke. It’s the one question God has been asking me in my own spiritual life. Because at one point in my life I was the perfect perfectionist, always performing the way everyone expected me to, like a walking resume never without some new goal. But it left me with a very frozen heart, if you’ll pardon the pun, and a very small comfort zone. Because to live the life I want for myself, the abundant life that Jesus died for me to have, I have to start exploring the answer to that question. Because I have an overwhelming feeling that the answer is no.
In my twenty-four years on the planet I have experienced the deep love of family, the deep love of friends, and even some very romantic little dates. But I admit to you all here that I know nothing about love. Because if I truly believed the Word of God, which repeatedly says that He loves me and that I shouldn’t be afraid, I’d probably act differently. I think I’d take a cue from Olaf the snowman and play more, enjoy things more, worry never, forgive others more easily… In fact is this transformative love that ends the movie. Elsa is forced to confront her own past (guilt about harming her sister) and when she confronts it and apologizes to her sister Anna (forgiveness!) both of them are set free. Anna is free to pursue the right guy this time and Elsa is free to do what she was meant to do: restore her parents’ kingdom. And Olaf finally gets what he always wanted, to see everyone laughing and enjoying the summer. Just like he told them all along.
What if the way to please God wasn’t to earn His love, but to enjoy it as His gift to you because He loves you so much? What if all God wants to do is to give us each a warm hug to melt our frozen hearts?