I look back at college days at Mizzou and think I was a pretty typical frat boy. But I was never really that typical. Once, when everybody else was trying to get the hookup talking about classes and what they do for fun, I distinctly remember talking to Diane Bau about theology. I suppose it’s not a surprise to any of you that this was never an area I considered taboo, even with a Jewish girl.
So we were about four beers into our TGIF mixer, and I vividly recall her astonished look when she repeated what I had just revealed to her. “Seriously? You think you should be good because you don’t want to go to hell? That’s why you try to avoid sin?” I thought it was a good thing. And admirable. And I was apparently proud that I was considered myself “religious.” And considered myself pretty righteous, in the midst of all these jerks that just wanted to get laid. I was better than that. Haha, right. I puffed my chest out and was a hypocritical Pharisee. I’ll leave that alone for now, because at 19, of course I wanted that also.
Anyway, she was simply incredulous, and genuinely fascinated that this was a Christian’s philosophy. I asked her why that was so surprising. I was proud that I believed in God and hell, and therefore wanted to do what was right. She looked at me with deep, dark olive eyes and said, “So the reason you try to be good is because of fear? Why not be good out of love, because God is your Father and He loves you, and that’s why you love Him?” I don’t remember whether I was surprised, or embarrassed, or oblivious, but I do remember that conversation like it was yesterday.
So here’s the funny part of the story. I dated Diane Bau for weeks before I learned that she had an identical twin (and I do mean identical!). I did think she was pretty moody sometimes, and really, really acted differently on some dates, but I pretty much wrote that off because she was just drop-dead gorgeous in an exotic, ethnic kind-of way. Anyway, about the time I really started digging her (them), she (they) informed me that she (they) was kind-of into me also, so she (they) really should stop going out because I wasn’t a Jewish guy. I was kind-of (really) insulted. This was my first experience of being discriminated against because of my professed religion.
But here’s the deal.. The girl was right. I was catechized by a Jewish Girl. Truly this is the essence of our relationship with our heavenly Father. And since today is Father’s Day, it does seem like a pretty cool day to remember this story.
This is also “Trinity” Sunday, and I imagine the three of them looking down at Earth, and the Father saying with such disappointment, “They still don’t get it. They simply don’t understand how much we love them. He looked over at His Son and motioned down to us and said, “One more time. This time let’s not just tell them about our how we want them to live, lets show them how to live, how to love. Let’s show them what love is. Our Father motioned over to Jesus and explained, “You go down and love them. Show them how much I love them, what love is.”
Diane was right. It never would have worked out. Her “father” would not have approved of me. Although I was surrounded by it all of my life, I realized it, what love “is” much later in life. I never really knew my father when I was growing up. Either of them. I do now. And how much he loved me, they both love me, in ways I only now can understand.