Are there people in your life who light up when they see you? Who make it known they are happy you came? I realized a couple of years ago how wonderful it is when people show that they are delighted to see me. This weekend I went to a cider press and saw a friend I hadn’t seen in months. She hugged me–a good, real hug–and told me how glad she was I was there.
I hope there is something about me that friends like this genuinely appreciate. But I also think that showing delight in this way is a part of who they are: People Who Love. When I experience this kind of love, it makes me want to give the gift of delight to others as well. It reminds me of the love of God, who is constantly opening His arms wide to me and telling me how delighted He is that I came. Even though I don’t deserve it.
And I definitely want to be like Him.
Is there someone in your life you can show love to by being delighted to see them?
“We do not want merely to see beauty …. We want something else which can hardly be put into words—to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it. … The sense that in this universe we are treated as strangers, the longing to be acknowledged, to meet with some response, to bridge some chasm that yawns between us and reality, is part of our inconsolable secret. … [G]lory means good report with God, acceptance by God, response, acknowledgement, and welcome into the heart of things. The door on which we have been knocking all our lives will open at last.”
I’m currently re-reading a short collection of poems by Edna St. Vincent Millay that I’ve had for years (Selected Poems). I love Millay’s style, even when I disagree with her philosophy on life. In my mind, she’s up there next to Frost in her ability to capture something of what C.S. Lewis described this way:
“the inconsolable secret in each one of you–the secret which hurts so much that you take your revenge on it by calling it names like Nostalgia and Romanticism and Adolescence; the secret also which pierces with such sweetness that when, in very intimate conversation, the mention of it becomes imminent, we grow awkward and affect to laugh at ourselves; the secret we cannot hide and cannot tell, though we desire to do both. We cannot tell it because it is a desire for something that has never actually appeared in our experience. We cannot hide it because our experience is constantly suggesting it, and we betray ourselves like lovers at the mention of a name. Our commonest expedient is to call it beauty and behave as if that settled the matter … But all this is a cheat … The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing. These things–the beauty, the memory of our own past–are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself, they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshippers.” (The Weight of Glory)
Millay was not a Christian. But her work frequently expresses the longing Lewis described–a wordless aching for something we’ve never even seen; an aching ultimately filled only by seeing the perfections of Christ and becoming in reality what we (Christians) are currently positionally. As 1 John 3:2 says, “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.”
Here’s a couple of my favorites from Millay:
I had forgotten how the frogs must sound
After a year of silence, else I think
I should not so have ventured forth alone
At dusk upon this unfrequented road.
I am waylaid by Beauty. Who will walk
Between me and the crying of the frogs?
Oh, savage Beauty, suffer me to pass,
That am a timid woman, on her way
From one house to another!
I looked in my heart while the wild swans went over.
And what did I see I had not seen before?
Only a question less or a question more;
Nothing to match the flight of wild birds flying.
Tiresome heart, forever living and dying,
House without air, I leave you and lock your door.
Wild swans, come over the town, come over
The town again, trailing your legs and crying!