I’ve been reflecting a lot lately on relationships and friendships and what makes a good significant other or a good friend. Of the best friends I have and the people I know who are truly happy in their relationships, I’ve found one theme: they love God first. They love Him first, not second, not when its convenient, not just when things are good, but always. Then it hit me that their primary love for God is what teaches them to be a good friend, a good boyfriend or girlfriend, a good spouse.
Loving God first teaches us to be a good friend. You can’t love God if you don’t communicate with Him. We have to talk to Him, to be honest with Him, to lay our burdens on Him. But we also have to listen. Often times listening to God is much harder than listening to someone right next to you. God doesn’t really pick up the phone and call you or send you a text to let you know what’s going on. His way of communication isn’t always as clear, and therefore it usually takes more effort to truly hear Him. I think He does this on purpose. By taking the extra effort to listen to God, we are being trained to make that special effort with our friends. Sometimes they don’t always want to open up, but if we love God first and we are patient with Him in waiting to hear His voice, then we are already primed to be patient in waiting for our friends to be willing to open up.
Loving God teaches us to be better friends because we can learn the value of silence from Him. Sometimes at the end of a bad day, all I want to do is curl up in those giant loving arms of His and just sit, just rest in His presence, knowing that He is there for me. The same is true with our friends – how often do we simply want to be with them, without needing to talk? I think this is true in a special way in romantic relationships, perhaps especially for girls. We just want to be held, we want to feel secure. By being friends with God, we are comforted in His arms so that we can, in turn, comfort our friends in the same way.
So often writing these blogs I feel as those I’m saying the same thing over and over again: its all about God. There are so many things in this world that confuse or confound me, but when I stop and pray about them, when I take time to reflect on whatever is bothering me I always seem to find that the answer is in God. The answers I seek, the peace I long for, the comfort I desire is always found in God.
But there is more. The answers, the peace, the comfort is found in God, but it is only found by going ever-deeper into the heart of God. The more I feel myself lost at sea, the more I hunger for God. St. Thomas Aquinas talked about his theory of “exitus-reditus” quite often, as does Pope Benedict XVI. This theory says that everything is from God and everything is returning to God. The more I draw on the love of God, the more I am moved to share His love with His children. The more I share His love, the more I realize how much I need and how dependent upon His love I am. When we love God first, we can’t help but share that love. And in sharing that love, we are drawn back into His heart. Its a beautiful cycle, but it can only begin by loving God first.