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Soul-Satisfying Love

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My wife is a walking enigma at times. It’s a strange thing to see – that face you have come to know so well sorting through thoughts and emotions that you will never see nor understand. We had a moment where I hugged her in the kitchen and she didn’t let go. When I asked what was wrong, she replied “Nothing.” I asked what she was thinking about. Her response? “I don’t know.” She didn’t let go of me for ten minutes and she has still not given me a real explanation behind that moment.

Maybe I am completely ignorant to the ways of the female species and I shouldn’t even bother to understand. A part of me thinks this feeling is a byproduct of God’s design. Men and women will never fully understand each other, yet we need each other. I would say the same is true regarding human beings and God, but God doesn’t need us. To some, that fact may seem disconcerting, yet I find it somehow reassuring. He doesn’t need us, yet He wants us. He doesn’t need us to live, but He sent His Son to die so we could live. To the human mind, the concept doesn’t make any real logical sense. Pretty much everything about God feels like it doesn’t make sense most days, yet I choose to trust and follow Him (as best as I can, which doesn’t feel like much some days). With God, you have to learn to accept the mystery.

The idea of mystery doesn’t align with some worldviews. Many atheists view the lack of tangible evidence of God as proof of His nonexistence. Mystery it seems, is a slamming door instead of an invitation to step inside and explore. Rationality is a wall that attempts to keep the mystery at bay. I’ve heard many notable atheists say they love their spouse, and I find that an odd thing to say because I believe that many of us feel deep down that love is a mysterious thing. They may dismiss it as the feelings and attachments created by evolution related to the biological urge to reproduce, but is this answer really satisfying to our souls? If instead of saying “I love you” to my wife in her moment of mysterious vulnerability and emotion, I instead said “I feel strongly about you because I desire to reproduce with you because of my biological and evolutionary programing,” would that make her feel cared for, protected, and treasured? I highly doubt it. In fact, if I had said that, she probably would have punched me in the arm and made me sleep on the couch. I feel we yearn for the mystery because the mystery means there may be more.

I have learned to fully accept that my wife is a mystery that can never fully be solved, much like my son and the God that spoke all things into being. But, just because I’ll never solve those mysteries doesn’t mean I should stop trying to figure them out. Quitting eliminates any chance of learning and growing, not only in my relationships, but also in my own character as a husband, father, and man.

Years ago, I read an article about the end of the TV show LOST. Many lamented at the lack of real answers to many of the long-running questions of the show, and the writer of the article said that the answers never would have really satisfied anyway, and I agreed with him. Very few people would have gotten an answer and said, “Oh, so that’s why X happened. Ok!” Instead, it would have been more along the lines of “Wait, THAT’S IT?! Really?” He argued the pursuit of the mystery was what made the ride special, and I choose to look at my life the same way. The pursuit is the point.

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I will never fully understand LOST.

I will never fully understand what runs through my son’s head.

I will never fully understand the woman is who is my wife.

I will never fully understand the God who saved me.

But I will never stop chasing the mystery.

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Jarrod Terry is a follower of Christ, husband to Amber, father to Ellie, stepfather to Kade, high school teacher, obsessive note-taker, stressed out sports follower, dog lover, movie nerd, book reader, sometimes outdoors guy, sometimes writer.
Memphis, TN

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