From time to time a couple of lovebirds will be interviewed on television. A couple who have been married for decades. And the highlight is ALWAYS when the interviewer looks at the husband and asks how the two of them have survived for so long together. And the husband ALWAYS smiles and replies: “Just say yes dear … always say “Yes dear.”” And the wife NEVER denies that truth. And the natural order of things is maintained for another generation!
We all watch and chuckle. We all know it is much more complicated than that. We are all in relationships and we all know it is NOT about always saying yes. It is about partnership. It is about equality and diversity. It is about growth and regeneration. It is about so much MORE than simply saying “Yes dear”
It was thinking about the Chosen People wandering around the desert for forty years that brought on this thought. My going through a patch right now wherein local “church” and all that goes with it feels like that desert brought on the Chosen People thought.
The website for my daily verses tells me that today is “Martha Day” – Saint Martha Day …
Many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them about their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary stayed at home. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world.” John 11:19-27
These verses allow us to see all the good stuff in the exchange between Saint Martha and Jesus. Loads of theology here! Loads of be more like Martha” stuff! Loads of teaching and preaching!!
Except He did that thing again … No Saint Martha … just: “I am the resurrection and the life.” which He stripped back to just: “I Am”
No “I might be”, “I could be”, wait for the end times and “I will be”. No “when you figure this out”, “when you have learned enough”, “when you know a thing or two” … Nothing at all complicated. Nothing learned. Nothing academic. No marching around the desert for forty years figuring this out. None of that.
Follow Me. I Am. Yes Dear.
Except we never do that. We do the desert thing. We do the complicated thing. We do all that “stuff” for each of our own decades. So this morning I think that “old bloke” has relationship figured out in two words: “Yes dear.” And I think his wife has it figured out as well – that is why she never disagrees with him.
Saying “Yes dear” is NOT a power trip for either. Saying “Yes dear” works for both. Those two small words are the tip of the iceberg. And the “massive love” we never see (below the surface) is the rest. “Yes dear” works. Just as “Follow Me” works. Just as “I Am” works. Just as they are all just the tip of the iceberg in a wonderful relationship between Creator and Created. A relationship that becomes more and more Creator and Creator. That becomes much more Personal and Personal. That becomes much more Equal and Equal.
(wait for the lightning bolt … )
“Yes Dear” works. “I Am” works. “Follow Me” works.
Which reminds me of Mary, mother of Jesus, and her words at that wedding: “Just say yes to whatever He asks.”
In my current period of desert wandering, contemplating my navel, pondering the dynamics and frustrations of church life and community, encountering a wide range of diverse personalities … wondering if God is so well hidden I am missing something important … wondering whether God is even present in some I encounter … All of that “stuff” …
He came to me this morning and showed me that “Yes Dear” works. He showed me how He says “Yes Dear” to me every second of every day.
Yet I still struggle to say “Yes Dear” back to Him. I am still in that struggle with complexity of relationship. I am still seeking my own identity and validation. I still have “stuff”.
Those paired words are not “stereotypes”. Not unless I don’t “get it” – not unless I prefer the desert – not unless I am so clever I can’t make it simple – can’t make love simple – as I search endlessly for unconditional love in these lengthy essays(!) –
And today I just sit here – all loved-up – and hear Him say those two wonderful words: