"I need You,
like the flower needs the rain.
You know I need You...
Guess I'll start it all again,
You know I need You,
like the winter needs the spring.
You know I need You,
I need You..."
It was the winter of 1971, and the boy I'd had a crush on for two years, finally liked me too. But the sad part was that he lived about an hour from our home, and because of that distance, we only saw each other on rare occasions. Because of this, "I Need You," by America, became the soundtrack for my melancholy. In our small house, we had only one telephone, and it was in the kitchen...and it was attached to the wall. It's not-long-enough spiral cord kept me tethered to our family's epicenter, the most constantly occupied room in our house, which was already overflowing with kids, and babies, and parents. My love-life seemed doomed to isolated light-hearted conversations about the teen church activities we shared an interest in. In those days, what I thought I needed most was privacy.
I remember thinking that this song was all about our budding, but seriously repressed, romance. I've always thought about it that way. So I was surprised this morning when, in the middle of praying with this statement from Mary Baker Eddy's 1895 Adress in The Mother Church, "more love is the great need of mankind," the song's chorus flooded my thoughts, and pooled in my heart.
I had been asking God, "what do I need?" And, "more love" was the answer that came, set to the background strains of "I need you, like the flower needs the rain..."
The reciprocity implied in that line broke over me like a ray of sunshine through the clouds. And it wasn't about an old boyfriend. It was about me...and more importantly, it was about me and God.
I need God, and God needs me. We are a team. We are essential to one another's purpose. I cannot be all that I hope to be...do all the good that I hope to accomplish...with out Him at the center, the core of my being. I cannot make a difference...in all the ways that I yearn to make a difference in the world...if I don't have the Source of all good at the headwaters of my being, flowing affluently and abundantly, moment-by-moment-by-moment.
Just like the ray of light needs the sun to feed it with light, warmth, projection, and intensity, I need God to feed me with ideas, affection, desire.
And God needs me. He needs me to be "the space"...of humility, grace, hunger, desire, and hope...that I am, so that he can fill the world with all that He is. So as I pondered what "I need," it was natural for me to turn to what inspired my hope or clarity and direction...The Bible and the writings of Mary Baker Eddy. And in them, I found these two statements, which stood out immediately:
"More love is the great need of mankind..."
"What we most need is the prayer
of fervent desire for growth in grace,
expressed in patience, meekness, love,
and good deeds."
So today, it is these statements that are driving my life forward. If mankind needs more love, and I need the fervent...the burning...desire for growth in grace (expressed as patience, meekness, love and good deeds), then my need for expressing more love, is going to only be supplied by mankind's need for experiencing more love. And this "more love" that is most needed, only has its source in God, the one and only limitless source of Love.
It takes great love to be patient...in the face of impatience. It takes more, and more, and more love to be meek (not inclined to anger or frustration)...to love generously when we are facing circumstances that invite us to feel self-justified in our anger or resentment. And even more love to push one's self out of the zone of self-indulgent comfort, and into the space of doing "good deeds," in service to others. I need God...Love...limitless, infinite, and abundant, if I am going to realize those needs.
Elsewhere Eddy remarks in reference to "need," that:
"The human affections need to be changed from self to benevolence and love for God and man; changed to having but one God and loving Him supremely, and helping our brother man. This change of heart is essential to Christianity, and will have its effect physically as well as spiritually, healing disease."
"We need much humility, wisdom, and love to perform the functions of foreshadowing and foretasting heaven within us."
Yes, I am realizing...more and more each day that, as Eddy says:
"More love is the great need of mankind. A pure affection, concentric, forgetting self, forgiving wrongs and forestalling them, should swell the lyre of human love." [emphasis added]
Not the nouns...the wants, or "what ifs" of humanly circumscribed outcomes, but a change of heart, and a recalibration of our desires from our wants, to what we really need...the birth of new unselfish sentiments and behaviors.
Eddy doesn't say that what we most need is better jobs, more money, bigger homes (or more homes), greater financial security, better bodies, admittance into the "right schools," or admirable lifestyles...but growth in grace expressed in....better behaviors...patience, meekness, love, good deeds...actually, more love!
I love this line from an early poem of Eddy's titled, "Signs of the Heart,":
"O Love divine,
This heart of Thine
Is all I need to comfort mine."
To have the heart of God...generous, giving, abundant, selfless...this is all the comfort I need...like the flower needs the rain. And I do need it. As my grandmother used to say, "you never go searching for the Comforter when you are comfortable..." Hmmm...
Kate Robertson, CS