Love is a curious thing. Designed to engulf you, to overwhelm, to consume, to embrace, to pursue, to protect, to provide but so often we end up with slices of these things, broken at best, manipulated at worst. Like a dinner recipe, too much of one ingredient spoils the meal. Such is the recipe of love. To find the right balance, to savor the moment, enjoying the culinary satisfaction, the senses coming alive to their stimulation, and that experience being deeply satisfying, is an elusive thing.
This is probably why every second song is about love. Every story told dances with love for a moment or two and this is probably why we get it wrong so often. We crave it. We desire it. We need it. Yet, so elusive, so easy to screw up the recipe. We dance around the kitchen in anticipation, the scents filling our nostrils, and we desire it even more but in our anticipation and growing excitement we spill the salt, we put one pinch too much, we over boil it, and in the end we take what we end up with but leave without being fully satisfied.
My life’s story takes an interesting turn at this point. Ever drawn to this illusive thing called love, it would end up being temporal for the moment, tasting sweet on the lips but bitter in the stomach. It would be a year and a half in the making and would leave me abandoned, broken, and empty, like the dirty dishes at the end of the meal prep, tossed to the side for someone else to deal with.
This chapter starts with my roommate. Unknown to me at the time when we became roommates, he would later identify with being a Christian. What that meant in his world was that he would have in his possession a 20 lb black leather bound King James Version of the Bible. He lived in a very black and white world and was convinced that he was going to become a pastor one day. Instead, he ended up falling in love, getting married, having a child, getting divorced, and becoming one of the most materialistic, capitalistic, bitter, and angry men I knew. I have no idea if he decided to stay in that place or not but it was a sad sight to watch that spiral downwards, consuming him in the process.
In the moment though, back when we were roommates, this also meant that he would invite the youth group over to our apartment all the time. My interaction with them was limited to me going to the fridge, grabbing a beer and heading back to my room – or not being home at all for that matter. But something was happening during those brief interactions with that group of people. They seemed genuinely curious in me. They wanted to get to know me and so they would ask some questions. They would listen to my answers.
I grew up knowing nothing about Christianity except for it being something I would mock and ridicule from my place of self-importance. I hadn’t learned any Bible stories and I knew none of the characters of the Bible, namely who this Jesus Christ character was. When the public school English teacher in grade 11 introduced a novel exam that included the question paralleling some aspect of the story to the Garden of Eden I had absolutely no idea what he was talking about and loudly voiced my objection to such religious nonsense being a part of the school curriculum. My objections were met with silence so instead of answering the question to which I felt like a fool for not knowing, I wrote a blistering essay as to why what he had done in the inclusion of such religious material was wrong in every way.
Don’t get me wrong though. I was a deeply spiritual person. After all, I started out as a young child, being initiated into the cult, and then taught transcendental meditation, before I began my journey into eastern religions and mysticism, followed by a studying and passionate pursuit of occultic worship and practices. If anything I had come to know myself as a deity – a largely spiritual person caught in this temporal body – and in that conclusion there was no room for some guy named Jesus Christ.
But, in the midst of my existence, sitting all over my living room, there was this thing I was experiencing called love – and they were getting the recipe right. I would stop by occasionally, beer in hand and profanity on my lips and they would love. They would share. They would listen. I was intrigued. I began to meet each of them as a group and then one-by-one I felt accepted in all my mess and all my cynicism and mockery. They were not as convinced to convert me as much as they simply wanted to love me. Such was a conflicting place to be for I desperately wanted to be loved but I did not understand that in which they loved from.
And then there was her. The girl that caught my attention. She was now noticing me and we began to talk. I liked her carefreeness and her silliness. I liked her and I wanted to pursue a relationship with her. One problem though. She did not want to date a non-Christian guy so I backed off. I was disappointed yet what this group of youth were talking about continued to haunt me, to entice me, to fill my nostrils with beautiful smells and I was hungry – really hungry.
I began to ask questions. A lot of questions. I began to read and I listened to what they were saying. I found myself wanting more and more, I couldn’t satisfy my hunger. And so, with a renewed resolve I decided that I would make a decision to convert to Christianity. I wanted to pursue a new life, a new identity, a new beginning – or rather an escape from my past, so I asked my roommate to lead me through a prayer. I wanted to be very deliberate about this action so I took my roommate to the cliff where I would go often to try and end my life.
There, sitting on the edge of the cliff, our feet dangling over the edge we talked for awhile and then he lead me through a prayer. In that moment I became a Christian. It was July 10th, 1990 and the time was 1:15pm. I made a note for some reason because it symbolized a new beginning for me.
It is also interesting to note that later that evening I also became a boyfriend.
Such is the pursuit of love. A recipe that when we get right can be so incredible, so fulfilling, and so very satisfying, but if we get it wrong, can be so bitter…so painful.