When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known.
1 Corinthians 13:11-12
When I was a child, or rather a young adult, I thought I knew everything there was about love. I thought I knew everything there was to the person I loved.
Now I reason so much differently.
Nightswimming by REM represents the shift in understanding of what love truly means. While the song was more popular and a significant memory in my early adult years, I’ve attained a deeper understanding of what the song means now that I’m twenty years older.
In fact, the song means so much more to me now than ever. The version posted above is one performed by Michael Stipe years after the initial recording. A sense of maturity and understanding echoes in his voice. It is a maturity with which I identify as I reflect back on my younger years.
I thought I knew the one I loved. But can we ever know the person with whom we fall in love? Can we ever truly know our family members and our friends.
And so this line in Nightswimming says it all:
You I thought I knew you. You I can not judge. You I thought you knew me.
We truly think the people who love us know us. We hold this misconception that we fully know the ones we love and interact with on a daily basis.
Each relationship that fails is based on two people thinking they know all there is to know about each other. There’s sadness when relationships fail.
But what we forget is that we only see in a mirror. We make judgments on unclear reflections. Only God sees us for who we are. If we could see the people we love with God’s eyes, our interactions would be so very different.
I believe there’s grace in knowing that everyone fails at understanding each other. Everyone fails at knowing their deepest selves – – even with years of therapy and reflection. All we can do in our lives is try our best to know one another and grasp the notion that we will never know everything about the people we love.
I thought I knew you. But I see you in a dimly lit mirror. I don’t know really know who you are. I can not judge you. Please do not judge me because you can only see parts of who I am. Someday, we will see each other fully as God fully knows each of us. Until that time, may grace and forgiveness may be abundant in our lives.