“April is the cruelest month” or so said T.S. Eliot. Personally, I think March is chock full of challenges.
Just look out the window. This is the time of year when winter and spring are on a collision course. The seasons inevitably clash and we sometimes get treated to nature’s version of a mixed metaphor: perky crocuses poking their heads through a blanket of snow. There’s also March Madness. Basketball enthusiasts and even “unenthusiasts” often find themselves on an emotional rollercoaster — tracking their selections, rooting for alma maters, fearing the dreaded bracket buster or hoping they’ve been prescient in picking this year’s Cinderella team.
Then, of course, there’s Lent. For some, this can be a rollercoaster of a different sort, fraught with potential spiritual ups and downs.
As I was thinking about this the other day, I was taken back a few years. I was out for a walk, my earbuds in and a song started playing. I’d heard it countless times before, seen it performed on stage, even taught it to my nieces.
It was “Getting to Know You” from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “The King and I.” The lyrics hadn’t changed, but my frame of reference had. I sang along and found myself smiling, as I realized that in many ways the evolution of my relationship with God mirrored the song’s verses.
Here goes (Note: I added the pronoun caps) …
When I started visiting God regularly, I was a little apprehensive and uncertain how it would go:
Getting to know You, Getting to know all about You
Getting to like You, Getting to hope You like me.
During my visits, I talked about the usual things. And, of course, sometimes sought advice or guidance. Because this didn’t always go as planned, I imagined God putting in His two cents:
Getting to know you, Putting it My way, but nicely.
Fortunately, I was never discouraged. Even when I didn’t get the seal of approval I sought, God’s dissent was always conveyed with kindness. My comfort level gradually grew and I learned it’s safe to share anything:
Getting to know You, Getting to feel free and easy
When I am with You, Getting to know what to say.
While embracing my freedom from the edit button, I unwittingly settled into a new way of living, one that espoused total vulnerability with God. What had previously been a source of discomfort – exposing my deepest, flawed self – became the gateway to encountering the Lord in new, profound ways. Sharing became virtually effortless and God became my confidant.
With God as my trusted friend, I began to approach each day with an underlying sense of ease and lightness coupled with confidence that – despite whatever may happen – all would be okay. I also discovered that as I revealed myself more deeply, God revealed Himself more deeply:
Haven’t you noticed, suddenly I’m bright and breezy,
Because of all the beautiful and new things I’m learning about You,
day by day.
Perhaps the best Aha! for me has been understanding that there’s no limit to the richness of my relationship with God. With God, there’s always more: more love, more joy, more peace. This Lent, I want to immerse myself in God’s “moreness” with enthusiasm and intent. I plan to journey more deeply into my relationship with God and get to know Him more intimately day by day.
Just for the record, I’ll probably always think of God when I hear “Getting to Know You.” I guess it’s become “our song.” But in case God prefers basketball to Broadway, I’ll be sure to give Him the heads up that I’m going into Lent 2022 with the energy of a full court press.