It’s a weird but perfect Valentine’s Day

Ray just called me and told me about his struggle to buy me a writing pad for Valentine’s Day  because although this was a good week for his vision, he couldn’t see the prices (no shit sometimes he accidentally sits in my backseat instead of the passenger seat when I go get him). Tomorrow morning I’m going to pick him up and we’ll drive to church. He’ll probably hold my hand during prayers of the people and I’ll probably cry because I would have planned it all pretty differently if it were up to me, but at the same time I feel stupidly lucky and in awe that this is my life.

While I’m more of a ‘come-late-and-sit-in-the-back’ church-goer, Ray calls attention our spot in the pews because he struggles to know when the congregation is rising and sitting. And if I’m being honest on days like Valentine’s day, I’d probably rather be celebrating some other kind of love.

And yet, I believe God continues to use me in Ray’s life because Ray is real to me. He’s annoying and difficult at times, and we call each other out. But as of late, I’ve been craving apathy–wanting to re-blind myself to the people without houses or consistent access to necessities because, to be frank, it seems it could hinder me from my ambitions.

Merton says we “discover ourselves in love.” And I think I can attest to that. The fear of loving someone has a lot to do with the fear of confronting ourselves. Love is risky and raw and involves a lot of self-discovery we can avoid when we aren’t committed to loving someone. Fr. Greg Boyle says something along the lines of  “love is the only strength” and no matter weak it makes us feel to come face to face with the hidden parts of the self, I think he is right. Love costs us, but it is the only thing that makes us alive. Ray is one of the many people teaching me about me via love.  I don’t tell ray that I love him because that’s hard for me, but I know he knows.

I met with a teacher recently about the things going on: the impending grad school choice, the unsettled areas of my heart, and the weird relationship I’ve had with the bible as of late. I told him that Ray and I started going to church in autumn–the season where I made mistakes I thought I’d never make and lost friendships I thought I’d never lose. God spoke to me a lot in that season but I did not listen. And today, Ray called me his Saint and the congregation thanked me for with tears in their eyes for bringing Ray.

About a month ago Ray and I were taking and he said his vision was getting so much better that one day he is going to lead me to the communion table.

Goddamnit he’s been doing it this whole time.

It’s a weird but perfect Valentine’s Day