In the golden years just after college and before graduate school I met one of my best friends in the world. She and I have known each other for over a decade now, and when people ask us how we met we always laugh as my friend decides which version of the story to tell.
The real story is that I met her at a conference where she was a presenter at a workshop. I was immediately impressed, and hung around afterward to introduce myself. She wouldn’t give me the time of day. She wasn’t interested in making a new friend. I was so disappointed – but I didn’t give up. I invited her to a party, I made friends with her friends. Eventually she relented and in the years that followed we became so close that we are now family to each other.
We crave the feeling of being chosen – for a job, for a college, for a relationship. We fear the crushing sensation of being rejected. In his parting words to the disciples who had come to love and follow him, Jesus reminds his friends that they did not choose him, but that he chose them, and he calls them to love as they have been loved. The resurrection life of God’s Easter people calls us to love not only those who choose us, but also those who do not. We are not held captive in tombs of fear, but set free to love indiscriminately, the kind of love that makes families out of strangers.