Tuesday, April 7, 2009

It is you!

In his recently published memoirs South African author Andre P Brink recounts his own journey through life and love. He attends specifically to what he had learnt about love, this most central aspect of our lives, over many years and through different relationships. He recalls one moment when he had what he called the most intense awareness of the other. In his own words: “I had never before experienced this!”

It happened when he went for a walk with his beloved one evening through the woods above Grahamstown. It became an unbelievable, almost magical night where everything started to glitter with the light of thousands of fireflies around them. At that moment they briefly stopped among the dark trees and then, with the moon above them, he took her face in his hands and whispered, just this one simple phrase: “It is you!”

Reading this moving episode from his life I realised that this little phrase, however simple and brief, does indeed suggest in a very powerful way, what love is really about. Because by saying this we say that we have recognised the other, that we are willing to accept and embrace him or her as a unique human being. Through this simple statement, which can also be seen as a confession, we acknowledge that the other has a face, a name, an own identity and that we fully grant and offer it to them - thereby creating the space in which they may also experience themselves as unique, special, human.

Is this not the very essence of the Biblical message? Is this not what God said to each one of us when he entered our world through Christ: “It is you”! Or in the words of Isaiah 43:1 “Do not be afraid, I will save you. I have called you by name, you are mine”.

May we hear these words again during this coming Easter. And may it inspire us to say the same to others. As we claim a space in which we can ourselves be recognised for who we are, we need to grant the same to each other. So many of our own difficulties could become less if we could start by seeing the other, recognising who they are, saying “It is you”! The people of our country, yes of the whole world, need to hear it constantly: “It is you”.

Carel Anthonissen

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