Last week I stood in line at a local sandwich shop waiting to pay for my order. In front of me was a young couple in their 20s and the woman of the pair was wearing a tank top. I could see four words tattooed on her left shoulder, each on its own line:
I smiled as I read them and let my mind wander with a general sense of the good feelings words like that make us have. But then something caught me up short – based on the other tattoos the couple bore, chances were that we view the world from drastically different perspectives. I started to wonder what she meant by them? Hope, belief and love all really require objects. And yet, we hear these words used all the time with no direct object expressed.
“All you need is love…” Right? But, love of what? Love for whom? Love of money and of self, love of things and love for stuff — we have plenty of that to go around. Belief in something or someone who fails you is not a good thing — in fact it’s a very painful thing. Holding out hope for something that cannot be will grind a person down. A person without hope will not benefit from just a sense of suddenly gaining general hope in “something.”
But, you see, as Twoists, there is Someone transcendent who is a trustworthy recipient of all of these things: our belief, our hope, our love. In fact he’s the reason we can feel these things. Because He is the Creator and we are his image bearers, we were made with imaginations and the ability to dream and make, to love, and to expect something more than what this fallen world has to offer us.
My train of thought chugged along and I never thought to ask the young woman what she loved, what she believed in, what she imagined and what she hoped for so deeply that it was worthy of a permanent place on her skin. I wish I’d found out if she knew the reason those words resonate in her heart — why they can mean so much to us. I wish I had asked — but by the time I thought of it they were gone and I was back to racing about my day.
My mind keeps wandering back to her and I pray one day she finds out that all is not one. All is two, and the Creator God who existed before all time is the reason words like those in her tattoo can be so beautiful; can create in us such longing.