She was a girl in love.
Talking about her hero, you could tell by her happy flush in her cheeks, the bright eyes, and the way she couldn’t stop talking about him.
By all descriptions, He was wonderful. Many fascinated friends had to go check him out, visiting his house, meeting him, and even getting close to him themselves.
As the months went on, she formed a regular fan club – people who squealed over this guy.
He was an amazing teacher, and her girlfriends and she loved to talk about what he had taught them. On a bad day, she picked up the phone and called one or two friends, emailing a third, to discuss things he had told her.
Whenever a friend was upset, concerned, or going through a rough patch, she was quick to remind them of what their hero had advised them. They’d discuss the nuances, the subtleties, and what it meant for them personally. Together, they’d figure out exactly what it was they were supposed to do.
A year later, one of her friends found her at the local grocery store. “Can you explain what the teacher meant by this problem?” she was asked.
After a lengthy discourse, her friends looked up at her, perplexed. “I don’t think this is what he meant,” they mused.
Who knew better than she? How dare they tell her she didn’t know what the teacher meant? She was his best pupil! She knew it all. “Yeah, I don’t think so. This is the way I’ve always done this problem. I know what the teacher said. He taught me this like last year. I read it in our textbook last year.”
“Last year?” one asked, incredulous. “Maybe you forgot then? You haven’t looked at the textbook in a year?”
She sputtered. “No… I look at it. Just maybe not this part. Because I already remember!”
The girls exchanged concerned glances. “You are always talking and raving about our teacher. You’re like a teacher’s assistant yourself. But you would answer the problem this way? That doesn’t make sense.”
She was angry now. “What do you mean? I have a perfect relationship with the teacher! I can tell you all of his favorite foods… or… or what he wears on Thursdays!”
The girls waited.
She wracked her brain. “He loves lasagna. He wears dark Polos!”
The girls shook their heads in irritation. “No, he doesn’t. He loves Mexican food.”
“Mexican… Lasagna…. Both use tomato sauce! I was close!” she defended.
“He doesn’t wear polos either. They’re dark button-up shirts.”
“I got the color right! I’m still his best student! I know him! See? I have a great relationship with him!” she insisted.
“But… even a little off means you don’t get the right answer.”
Two years later, she was IMing another friend. “I can’t believe you’re living your life like this. We’re part of his fan club. We don’t do things this way.”
“You’re wrong,” the friend. “He said you’re doing that problem entirely wrong. Like, you’re not even using multiplication where you’re supposed to. You’re using addition and subtraction. Did you forget what the X and / signs mean? Why are you using + and -?”
“Whatever! You are so judgmental!” She was furious. “I know what I’m talking about! I’m his biggest fan!”
“Can you describe what he looks like?” her friend challenged.
“What?” she fumed. “He has blond hair and big baby blue eyes! He has a cleft chin!”
“Are you kidding me?”
She waited. Paused. “Doesn’t he?”
“No!” her friend fired back. “He has dark brown hair and brown eyes. No cleft chin. His jawline is pointy and angular. Do you even know our teacher at all?”
She was silent. Scared. And her fingers shook. “Yes, of course! I’ve known him for years!”
“When was the last time you saw him? When was the last time you talked to him!”
“I talk about what he’s taught me all the time!” she argued.
“Not ABOUT him,” her friend replied. “TO him. When was the last time you talked TO him.”
She had no response.
“When was the last time you got together with him. Sat and listened to him speak. Talked to him and heard his voice. When was the last time you read the book he wrote?”
She was still speechless. “I think…” she hesitated. “I think it’s been years.”
“And you think you know him? Why? Because you talk about him? How can you talk about someone you don’t know? You have talked about him for so long, while ignoring meeting with him – that you actually have no relationship with him. You’ve ignored him in your effort to look like one of us. You advise and preach and stand in front of us, one of the Fan Club – pretending to be the president. And yet you don’t even know this Hero you claim you adore.”
How about you? How about me? Comparatively, how much time do I spend online and out and about talking ABOUT God, and then walk away feeling like I’m in a good place? Because I speak perfect Christianese, and my friends and I solve each others’ problems so perfectly in our own strength? What about actually meeting with the Hero and reading the big long Letter He actually sent us? Where’s that daily, urgent, passionate relationship? He’s my best friend, and not just someone I talk about but don’t actually know!
Do I not think that my perceptions will be warped without routine and often time with Him to stay in touch?
Off to go do my devotions! Better actually have a relationship with the God I claim I adore! 😉