What you order at a restaurant can say a lot about you. Pete always orders something new. For him eating, like life, is an adventure with new experiences to savor and discover. He doesn’t worry about being disappointed (and strangely, with the exception of raw sea urchin gonads, he very rarely is — the novelty is enough to satisfy him, I think).
I usually order the same thing. My attitude is, I know what I like. It makes no sense to order a dish I might not like, when I could just as easily order something I know I love. The few times I’ve ventured out and ordered something different, I didn’t like it nearly as much as I would my old standby. I much prefer to try new things from Pete’s plate (which, come to think of it, is probably an apt analogy of our life together).
I have to admit, I live a fairly predictable life. This has made it easy for Pete to pick up on my habits and preferences, which comes in handy. He knows when we’re on vacation, I’m not getting up for breakfast. After his own unhurried breakfast, he scans the buffet and brings me a plate of what he thinks I would like best so I can graze at my leisure. He’s usually right on the money.
Pete thinks he knows me pretty well, and he does. But every so often I mix it up, toss a monkey wrench into his tidy little construct, and throw him off balance. I don’t do it on purpose, but I like when it happens, all the same. It’s a reminder that there’s more to knowing me, that he doesn’t have me all figured out.
I sometimes wonder if it’s not the same with God. I’ve been learning about God since I was a young child. Maybe it’s just my penchant for coming up with theories, but I’m always trying to figure God out, to come up with a reliable formula for how he operates. A + B = C. Predictable, controllable. If this, then that.
Every now and then I think I’m on to something — “God, you said … .” But God is not like geometry. A + B does not always equal C. He doesn’t always color inside my lines. I am faced with the inevitable exception, the piece of the puzzle that doesn’t quite fit. I’m left asking why, and God doesn’t seem to be in any rush to provide me with reasonable explanations.
If I hear any answer it’s this: I am who I am. It’s as if God is saying, It is enough to know me. Come a little closer and get to know the nuances of my expressions. He’s not confined to my air tight definition of who he is and how he works.
I am who I am is infinite and intimate. He wants to be discovered, and every time I think I have him figured out, he reminds me there’s a little more.
I like the fact that Pete knows my habits and preferences. But I love the fact that he’s still getting to know me. He hasn’t wrapped me up in a neat package and put me on a shelf. He’s unwrapping me like a new gift every day. And maybe this is how it is with God.