In Bhanu Kapil’s book, The Vertical Interrogation of Strangers, there’s a Twelve Questions poem that I knew I wanted to find answers to the moment I read it. I love a great exercise of interrogation and of course, the hope that in some small ways, I discover some truth, come across a changed thought or simply better understand this self, this nuanced life and learn ways to carry well that which I have been given.
Question 3: How will you begin?
In no other way but love, of course. A love that is not contained, not guarded or hardened by life. A love that sees through and through, passionate in its witnessing, tender in carrying what it finds. A love that turns readily to forgiveness, to touch, to the sound of joy. Earnest. Optimistic. Concentrated. A quiet and comfortable love. A loud and intense love. Walks out the door and comes back for more. A serious commitment. A playful gesture. A love of sacrifice and cost and heavy labor. How it breaks to reveal a wanting heart. How it breaks to grieve and tread the winding path of sorrow. How it opens through my body, knocks against the edge of my ribs like a restless secret. How it moves and drifts and takes form.
I will begin with a love that is visual, visible, and vibrant—an art of detail in its emotions, its truths, its promises. Like a thing that is intricately woven. Like a complex map of pure delight—every line leads to a gleaming town. Love as a surge of desire as though a song were rising up inside of me—imagine that, a floating, uplifting melody. Love like a sun yellow of flowers. A lush green. The growth of a seed in a land soaked with water. An abundant, overflowing love. Does not want to disappear. Does not want to shrink. Does not stand in the way of bright bright light. The kind of love that is strengthened by more loving, more living. I want to begin with the fiercest sense of affection and wonder, a devotion to live passionately and purposefully, and in praise of this miracle and marvelous breath.
Above all things, I want to begin with the God of truth and power. A sovereignty that will never have me questioning my design because I know to whom I belong. The God of giving and healing hands. Hands that guide, hands that deliver and pull ever so gently from the flames. Hands that hold me in an embrace sweet and secure. To begin with the language of faith planted on my lips, a longing for worship rooted deep in my heart. To begin with the Source of life and my Help for all the ages past and years to come. To look at the world only through His eyes. To throw myself in a space of trust, to surrender, surrender, surrender.
To begin by acknowledging my humanity, my ordinariness, my ever fleeting and brief life. To begin by acknowledging His supremacy, His extraordinariness, His undefeated eternity. To submerge myself in unflinching, uncondemning, bountiful and pure love, even if it costs me the world. To begin in the courage of God that allows me to leave the world behind. To begin in the love of God that sets my heart on fire anyway. To begin by returning to the place that is holy, to the voice that is true, to a Father that is mine forever.
“Every day God invites us on the same kind of adventure. It’s not a trip where He sends us a rigid itinerary, He simply invites us. God asks what it is He’s made us to love, what it is that captures our attention, what feeds that deep indescribable need of our souls to experience the richness of the world He made. And then, leaning over us, He whispers, “Let’s go do that together.” – Bob Goff
I will begin with God. I will begin in love. I will begin with the God of love and all things true.