The Candid Clergywoman: The "Other Half" Made Whole

Somewhere between the towns of Lyon and Marks on Tuesday, there was a "concert."

The venue? My car.

The performer? Me.

The microphone? My empty, 24 oz. water bottle that says, "I LOVE THE DELTA."

The repertoire? A pop music station.

The audience? Thankfully, just me. Even Isaac the dog missed out on this experience.

The 24 hours leading to that car ride had filled me with joy. I'd spent time with a friend whom I hadn't seen in years, explored her house in the country, ate pastries and drank French Roast for breakfast, led a couple of yoga workshops, and visited with United Methodists from around the state. Driving home in beautiful, sunny weather, the day after horrendous storms had blown through Mississippi, "my heart overflowed with a good theme" of thanksgiving.

What better way to express gratitude than to sing? Adrenaline rushing, I turned to a "happy pop" station and was belting out familiar, yet often cheesy, tunes.

Then a song came on that I didn't know. It had a good beat, and I caught on to the chorus. But some lyrics made me put down the "microphone," pull over, and take some notes.

I get to be the other half of you.

Hmmmm ...

I started listening more carefully instead of singing so loudly. The trend of searching for "the other half" was blatant in the lyrics I heard. In the edited words of Jerry Maguire, the voices I heard were crying out for someone to "complete" them.

I understand the old adage of a couple referring to their spouses as their "better half" or their "other half." In Genesis 2:24 is that passage we hear at many a wedding ceremony: "Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh." Two becoming one is a mysteriously amazing depiction of the marriage covenant. One union does form from two people, and we view the two persons as "halves" of a whole, beautiful marriage.

However, what happens to us when we think we're not "whole" until we find that one, idealized person who is our other "half?"

Which opportunities pass us by because we're obsessed with seeking and finding one relationship?

How much healthier would our relationships be if we saw ourselves as "whole" just as we are, as individual children of God?

What if we focused on cultivating healthy relationships in our families, churches, and friendships instead of seeking out one romantic relationship?

Sadly, so many of us view ourselves and relationships through the eyes of silly "love" songs. We live our lives in search of another half. We only live into half of our potential. We search for someone else to love us when we don't love ourselves.

Two half-loved lives don't make a whole relationship.

Friends, God created us to be so much more than half-lived lives.

Yes, we long for belonging.

We love to feel loved.

But have those desires become our idol, our focus, our one intent? To seek and to find a person instead of seeking the God who will bring the right person(s) across our paths?

As I turned south on Highway 61 on Tuesday, I rejoiced for the persons whose paths I had crossed. The friend who had hosted me, along with her two dogs and pony. The first-time yoga students. The staff who hosted the event. The clergy colleagues I only see a few times each year. The baker who sprinkled powdered sugar on my pastry and poured my coffee.

We declare to you what we have seen and heard so that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. We are writing these things that our joy may be complete. (I John 1:3-4, New Revised Standard Version)

Sometimes God wants us to experience love through many kinds of fellowship, not just romantic love. Sometimes our joy is complete through the fellowship of all God's creatures, from the pony to the baker. Sometimes we must remember that in God's kingdom, there are no "halves," only souls that he desires to make whole with his love and joy--overflowing in abundance.

Instead of pining for what we don't have, what we wish we had, what we long for in relationships, take a moment today to look around you. Take a moment to listen to the voices God has brought into your life. And celebrate those people. Give thanks for those connections. And if at all possible, break into song. The One who completes our joy is right here, right now. And He might even want to sing with you.

all good things to each of you,
Pastor Darian

P.S. Confession: Of all the pop artists on the radio today, a long-time favorite of mine is P!nk. Yes, I know she likes R-rated words. But here's an edited, PG-13 song that'll make you feel like a rock star. Please excuse me while I get my water-bottle mic....