This is Part 4 in Esther Meek's 5 part series on Rekindling Longing to Know. See Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.
Why care about
knowing? Because as humans we care. Caring is the vector that carries us
into the world. Knowing rides the wave of desire. To care is to move toward the
unknown in hope. Caring is the key to rethinking what it means to know. To know is to care.
But now here’s the most amazing thing yet. To love will be to know. Our committed
caring actually invites the reality we seek. Reality responds to our overtures.
Knowing is like a wedding. The groom pursues the bride in
love. He waits patiently in hope. He pledges to love, honor and obey the as-yet
undiscovered reality. Only then does that reality unfold itself. Apart from the
promises, were the groom to demand knowledge—we would consider that, by
contrast, rape. But instead, the bride reveals herself in response to the
groom’s love, in the context of covenant relationship.
And we may expect both to recognize and to be surprised by
reality. Reality both is and isn’t what we surmised it might be. But that is
just what confirms its reality to us. To invite the real is to unlock a door
through which reality of a surprising nature might enter. Far from there being
no truth, what we find sometimes is more truth than we were prepared for.
Sometimes reality knocks our socks off, as we say. We thought it was about our coming to know. We can find instead that
it is about our coming to be known.
We are not lone seekers in a meaningless void. Somebody Else besides us is home
in the universe. Knowing is a
conversation. It has about it the reciprocity of the interpersonal.
Christians will recognize that
Somebody Else. Of course: it is God, the Person who is (rather than has)
truth. God is the reality who knocks our socks off, the One, ultimately, who,
when we have sought him we find he was seeking us. Of course his world has the
tough responsive charactered many-sidedness about it that it does. It has the
personal about it. In this world we are surrounded by God’s personal effects. Where
Truth is a person, knowing will be both covenantal, and interpersonal.
alumnus, and my friend, author Steve Garber, describes this as a biblical
understanding of true knowing: “to have knowledge of, means to have
responsibility to, means to have care for. If one knows, one cares; if one does
not care, one does not know…It is rooted in the deepest realities of God’s
nature and character, and of our bearing His image, called to care for the
world in imitation of Christ…The biblical vision is clear: to know is to love.
To know is to love. But may we hear it: to love is to come to know. It is the lovers who see, says
Pittsburgh-born Author Annie Dillard.
The key to knowing is longing. Love unlocks the world. I know that sounds
syrupy. I also think it is right. Do you long to know? If you want to know,
longing is the best thing you can do.
© Esther L. Meek, 2005.
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. New York: HarperPerennial, 1974, p. 20.