There are some people you just love at first sight. I’m not talking about romantic love, or a sexual thing, although I know they happen, but rather the kind of thing where you meet someone and make an immediate connection that you hope will be part of your life for a long time to come. Somehow you know that meeting this person matters.
There are some people you love at first sight who love you back, but it doesn’t always turn out that way. Maybe they are slower on the uptake, or maybe their energy is something you need to learn from, but yours is less significant for them.
I hate when that happens, whichever part I am playing.
When there is a delay in realizing on one side, it may be due to different styles of apprehending the world. The night I met Pure Luck, we responded strongly, but differently, to one another. I’m an iNtuitive Feeler (don’t you know all clergy love Myers-Briggs?), and he is a Sensation Thinker. I have a response to a person or a place or a thing and it’s all about intuition and feeling—instinct, emotional response. He observes data in a rational manner. He knew I liked him because I gave a little gasp when he touched me. For Pure Luck, that was observable and incontrovertible data.
I can’t read the data at all. I only have responses. I know how I feel, but not how he feels. (Or at least I didn’t then.) I could only hope that since I was feeling something intense, he was, too. He, on the other hand, wasn’t aware of having feelings…
I’m thinking about this because of Jonah and Jesus, who I’ll be talking about tomorrow morning, and about the people who responded to them with such immediacy. Jonah walked through Nineveh, calling on people to repent, and they got right to it!! Jesus wandered down to the lakeshore and said, “Follow me!” and people dropped what they were doing and followed him down the road.
Somehow I doubt the people who took off with Jesus were Sensation Thinkers.
How do we know when it’s the right time to change our lives dramatically? What drives us to decide? Was Peter in the midst of a mid-life crisis, burnt out on the fishing and wishing for something new? Is that why he dropped his nets and left his boat to follow Jesus, just for the change?
I think it’s true that we are more responsive to the new, whatever form it takes, at certain moments and phases of our lives. Some of the things I hope for at my church this year will be a stretch for the people. Are they really at the place for new things? Will they drop the nets of caution or complacency? Or am I the one on my own brink, ready to drop my own nets, carefully woven over the past three years of ministry and 44 years of life? They contain good threads and bad, things I would be sorry to drop and things I would be afraid to leave behind because even when they are not what I like about myself, I don’t know how to live without them.
But to turn, as the Ninevites did, to follow as Peter and Andrew and James and John, there is no stopping to observe the data. It’s all about responding.
And immediately they left their nets and followed him. Mark 1:18, NRSV