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You Are My Density
“Loraine, you are my density.”
An awkward George McFly stumbled through his attempt to invite Loraine to the “Enchantment Under the Sea” dance. He’d planned his poetic words carefully and tried to follow the script as he approached her in the diner. Maybe he was nervous. Maybe it was the after-effect of the chocolate milk he just guzzled. Whatever it was, his words came out jumbled and fell flat. If Loraine was his “destiny” it would have to be revealed in some other way, on some other day.
I don’t use the word destiny very often. It’s a good word for movies and melodrama (like in this classic scene from Back to the Future), but I can’t remember ever proclaiming that something or someone is/was my destiny (or my density.) That’s a bold claim. Is there really a path laid out for me and only me that was determined before I was born? Have the choices I make, the words I say, the people I meet, and the places I go been mapped out (without my input or control) by God? By the universe? By some unknown cosmic force? I have a hard time embracing that as true, except when it is.
I love the process of discovering simple ways to articulate deep and difficult things. In a conversation with a friend about predestination/predetermination (the strange things theology nerds talk about over coffee) a friend said to me, “I don’t think God predetermines/predestines anything. Except, of course, the stuff that God does.” So simple. So profound. That thought has stayed with me. Could it be that God HASN’T dictated my every word, decision, step, and outcome? Could it be that my “destiny” is more the result of layer upon layer of decisions and relationships? Could it be that, while God has been present with, in, and through it all, God did NOT fully outline and determine everything about my life before I was even a glimmer in my parent’s eyes? Except, of course, for that which was predestined/predetermined. So, what is that stuff?
Maybe my destiny is as the writer of Ephesians described when they said, “God destined us for adoption as God’s children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of God’s will.” (Eph 1:5). Maybe it is true that God chose to adopt me (and everyone) into God’s family as my destiny “just as God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before God in love.” (Eph 1:4).
Love is the family I am part of.
Love created me.
Love is who I am.
Love is my destiny!
But sometimes in my density, I forget my destiny. I need reminders. I forget the family who welcomes me. Sometimes, as I’m forging the path of my life, I forget who I am. I need the walls I build around myself to crumble so my life can again become a “thin place” where heaven meets earth. I long to become awake again to the presence of God and the presence of my siblings in Christ who surround me in love.
God, help my destiny overcome my density today.
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