I am in love with Eli Haver.

Eli lives on Fenway Monday through Thursday. Friday through Sunday he lives on Tremont with his buddy Alan because he doesn’t like to be alone.

Eli likes cilantro.

Eli can play two songs decently on the cello.

Eli could have been a golfer, but found out at his uncle’s 52nd birthday that he makes more money gambling.

This is the life I’ve made up for Eli, the stranger who politely smiled at me as he walked with his dog out of the Pavement Coffeehouse on Boylston Street in Boston. And though his entirety is fantastical in my mind, he still takes up four seconds of my slippery June heart.

And I don’t even like dogs.

I am surprised to say that I have become the person who falls in love with strangers. I didn’t always used to be this way.

I used to love so deeply that scattered remnants of my soul can still be found in certain pockets of Green Cove. That I found pathways through torment, sunrays through clouds, a cup of lemonade through dirt-crusted fingernails.

But after I moved so much that home became a feeling I’d have to search for, after friends died and adulthood swallowed family, after seasons of college cycled people so quickly that they became faces with no souls, I found it more difficult to deeply love.

Loss is depravity, an inability to find. What once was is no longer. So take four seconds of my heart, but don’t take the whole of it. Don’t burn my candles or finish my favorite books. Don’t wear my favorite clothes or fall in love with the realities that I could never control. Don’t fall in love with God. God wants the whole of it. Fall in love with Eli Haver.

The tragedy of David’s love is one we can all relate to. One of our favorite researchers, Brene Brown, told a crowd of people a story of a happy family riding in a car. They were singing their favorite song, laughing, and basking in the overall bonding of it. She then asked the crowd what they thought would happen next. Ask yourself.

They crash.

We are so accustomed to the tragedy of David’s love, that whenever a true happiness and connection happens, we are immediately preoccupied with when we will lose such love.

Don’t fall in love with Jonathan, we tell David. He will die.

Don’t fall in love with God. He will ask more leadership from you moments after you’ve lost your greatest love.

But David does not listen to us. He loves deepest. So deep that his love, honor, and sorrows live on in the book of Jashar (1). So deep that not a spiteful tongue is spent on the one who tried to kill him (2). So deep that his love for God outstrips his grief, as he stands in mourning and asks God where he should go next (3).

I love what our team has been sharing with us about how David loves. Troi’s insights about how David’s love was long-formed and meaningful when we often choose quick and easy. Austin’s observation that a consistent love for God gave David the strength to lead through intense pain. Malarie’s discernment on the power of trust and rest.

The tragedy of David’s love is that he feels, fails, serves, and leads with the whole of it. Both his realities and fantasies are tainted with it. Every breath, every moment, every step, wrestles with it (David might possibly “Four” too much).

Though it is his love that produced sorrow, it is also his love that produced a King.

It is his love that produced:

I dare ask myself if my four-second love for Eli can say any of these things.

Once again, friends, I have no answers. Only prayers.

May you burn your favorite candle
And love God with the whole of it.

May you make mistakes
And love God with the whole of it

May you face your enemies
And love God with the whole of it

May you be promoted and brought high
And love God with the whole of it

May you lead well
And love God with the whole of it

May you doubt God
And love God with the whole of it

May you lose love
And love God with the whole of it

May you have love
And love God with the whole of it

And may you see, hear, feel, and know the sorrow and kingship of your slippery June heart

(1) 2 Samuel 1:18; Joshua 10:13
The Book of Jashar (translated, “The Book of The Upright”) was a collection of songs designed to remember great battles and notable characters in Israel’s history as the nation prepared for the coming of the Messiah.

(2) 2 Samuel 1:19-27
David has honorable words to say about Saul after his death, and declares that the others follow. This can be surprising for some, as Saul tried to kill him and was considered his enemy. He even mentions Saul more than Jonathan, David’s closest friend. It may be interesting to study this level of love and trust for God that he mourns Saul in this way.

(3) 2 Samuel 2:1

Gabriele Hickman
Assistant Director

June 5, 2018