I recently checked out the book The Shack by William Young from my public library. A good friend of mine whom I highly respect and who is an avid reader had raved about it so I was curious. I am not writing this post as a review of the book. To be honest, I didn't finish reading it. Not because I hated it...........I just got a little bored. Please don't let that deter you from reading it, however. It is a very intriguing and thought-provoking book from a spiritual standpoint. I may check it out again just to reread certain parts.
There is one phrase from the book that has just stuck in my mind and that's what I wanted to write about. I can't get the words out of my head. "Love is the skin of knowing." To give you the context of this, the main character has the occasion to meet up with God and these words are among many of those spoken by the God character (who is actually represented in the book by three "characters" to illustrate the Holy Trinity). God was trying to get the main character to realize that as our relationships with one another grow and deepen we inevitably come to know much more about each other. And despite some of the pain and anguish that "knowing" brings our love grows to contain it. I'm probably doing an awful job of explaining this. I think what really hits home with me about this idea is that there are so many times in my life when I've lamented the fact that I am at my worst in the relationships that mean the most to me. I actually had several conversations about that this week with some other women. We talked about how sometimes, especially in a marital relationship, the two partners tend to bring out the worst in each other. Marriage is difficult. I remember hearing that when I was newly married. At the time I thought it was just difficult for other people. I couldn't imagine it ever being difficult for ME. Sixteen years and two children later I am the first to admit..............it's difficult. Living in close proximity with someone else brings with it many disappointments and unmet expectations on both sides. The more you know about someone the more you find out things about them that are possibly surprising, embarrassing, upsetting, or disappointing. Of course marriage brings joys and blessings too. As I think about my relationships and especially my marriage I realize that my love has expanded to encompass the knowing. When I am frustrated and discouraged about my marriage I am going to try to remember that love is the skin of knowing. I am blessed to be loved by a God who already knows everything about me........who anticipates and expects my failures and loves me in spite of them. It is because of this divine love that my love for others can continue to grow............despite the sometimes painful knowing.