A Few Mathematical Considerations of Intimacy

What is the definition of intimacy? It can’t be simply “closeness.” You could be very close to a person and never be intimate with them. What if that person bores the mind out of you? Are you intimate simply because they know everything about you? What if you run in such perfect sync that you never gain any fresh perspective from them? Is that intimacy? Imagine two parallel lines: It doesn’t matter how close they get, just because they’re close doesn’t mean there is any interchange. Ok. Go with me on the line thing. Let’s say that different types of lines represent different types of relationships, and let’s say that how many times two lines intersect describes the level of intimacy in that relationship.

Ok. Straight lines. Very boring. They never change; they never waver. How they are is how they are. You see one part of them, you know all about them. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Lots of relationships are simple and straightforward and easy to read. But straight lines only intersect once. That means that the closest to intimacy two straight lines can get is two really close parallel lines. Any closer than that and they’re not two lines, it’s the same line. If these people are coming from different directions (or have a different perspective), the closest to intimacy that they get is that one time true encounter where they really connect. It’s very profound, but that’s it. They just don’t belong together.

How about relationships that change? We need some curves. Let’s try parabola and hyperbola. I don’t remember the equation for hyperbola, but parabola are pretty simple: it’s that x=y² thing. The line on the graph comes down from out of nowhere, gets to a certain point, makes a sharp turn and heads back out in exactly the opposite direction, up and out. So we’ve got two people coming from roughly the same direction, they get close for a while, have a few intimate moments, and then they go their own separate ways.

Of course, the really interesting stuff involves circles. I think a circle describes a relationship that just isn’t going anywhere. Two perfect circles would either go round and round connecting in the same places but never really changing, or they would simply never get any closer together. Either way it’s rather pointless (ha ha).

However, by far the best relationships could be described by trigonometry functions. You know, x=cosine y-1, and all that stuff. Radio waves. They go back and forth over the same general area, forever. It always changes, so it doesn’t get boring. But there’s a definite pattern, so it doesn’t get weird. You know what to expect. So, those of you who kept your handy dandy little graphing calculators from high school, put in the same graph the equations of x=sine y and x=cosine y. They’re exactly opposite, right? But look, one goes up exactly the same as the other comes down and then they go back, so they meet in the middle. And then they do it again. If intimacy is the number of times they cross each other and really really make connection, really touch the other’s life, these guys are infinitely more intimate than any other type of relationship in the world. No matter how far apart they get, they’ll always come back together. And look, they’re both exactly opposite and exactly the same. Folks, these guys are married. Or best friends: x=sin y and x=sin y-.25. They’re almost exactly the same, but they come from a little different background, so they still intersect.

Of course, since people’s personalities have so many more dimensions than just two, we have the opportunity to be all of these sorts of things at the same time. To some people I’m a straight line and to others I’m cosine to their tangent. Some people are always there but nothing ever changes. It all depends on what lines it runs along.

A Day’s Journey

“Lord, You lead like a drunken man.”

The dust picked up again under the crunch of sweat-soaked feet. Carolina Snibbs was walking. Outside the city gate and up toward the hills, his mouth was dry again. Another city turned away. Another dry day. And comes the wind.

“You always tell me step one and step ten. Never mind that step five is West and step seven is North when my path is heading South. Never mind that. I’m following Your rhythms. And You lead like a drunken man. Continue reading “A Day’s Journey”

Silly Story


When the king set on his throne, a very tired and lonely man, he was, at that moment, ready to die. Had someone stepped up to him and told him that that day would be his last to live, he would have smiled, almost grimaced.

“My eyes have grown cold, and so have my hands. My heart, that beats soundly enough, but everything has grown so cold within me,” He wheezed to himself, more amused than distressed. Distress would have cost too much caring, a substance he had run very poor on long ago. He thought he must have a small bottle of the stuff saved up somewhere.

He supposed he ought to find the stuff and use it up on something useless before it went to waste. Tiresome stuff. A wonder the young had so many uses for it.

Just then a mouse scampered up to the arm of the throne. Mice were generally not allowed in throne rooms, but the king had not much kept up with that of late.

“My master, please: a bit of cheese!” squeaked the mouse. Continue reading “Silly Story”

Something in the Name

There is something in the name of Jesus
That washes every doubt.
Watching all my fears and troubles fading
As His Spirit turns me inside out.

There is beauty in the pow’r of Jesus
As He changes old to new
Victory is found in giving
All my troubles to Divine View

I know that I’ll be found in You
Resting in your care
When all of my life has faded
And I place my feet on Jacob’s stair

A Psalm of Sorts

you build me right
by waterspouts and diamonds
My root goes down.

The crooked way, it breaks me
as I bend ’round my borders.
But soon I will have straightened them
by the strength that you have given me

I have seen the water’s edge
and know that I am not forsaken
He who makes the sun to rise
has spread His banner over me

I know I will see the spring
And bear my fruit in season
For I have been planted by a sure hand
Whose seasons waver not.

Your sons You build like mighty trees
You daughters like marble colonnade
Who has seen the beauty of Your children
Like the temple builder?

Lovesong II

I separated myself from you
Like East is far from West
But You rose up and ran after me
On the wings of the dawn

I ran till my breath was raw
And smiling You came after me
Surely by nightfall He will capture me. . .

I can’t wait that long.

I will turn my head
To hear the voice of a Lover
I will turn my heart
To feel the heartbeat of Another
I will turn around
Stand stockstill in my place
I will lift my hands
In pure surrender.

Till You come rushing over me!
Till You have captured me!
Till my eyes are wet with tears!
Till my mouth is worn from kisses!

Water on a Clean Slate

I found something
That can change old to new
I found something
That can restore and redo

You’ve captured, covered, cleansed, and redefined
You’ve healed what I did not know was broken
You straightened what I did not know was lame
Washing away all my sins
Like water on a clean slate

Nothing in my life stays the same with You, Lord
You’ll change black to white if I’ll but let you
You’ll change night to day
Washing away all my sins
Like water on a clean slate

Can a leopard change his spots?
Can a tiger change his stripes?
I can’t change my ways, oh Lord,
But You can change my life!
Wahin’ away my sins
Like water on a clean slate

Tainted Wine

I had some wine the other day
And ooh the stuff was rank
Of flavor, full and round and red:
Of alcohol, it stank.

It burned my lips and tongue
Yet warmed me nonetheless
And in my memory of tasting it:
I liked the aftertaste the best.

I tried to drink it seven ways
Sugared, watered down, and plain
And choking, wat’ry eyed,
At last, the open bottle down I laid.

The uncorked bottle filled the house
With it’s alcoholic dew
Until my roommate, in his wisdom
Made a cap aluminum.

Three days later, I made again
A last ditch, whole heart attempt
But refrigeration, or open air
Had rotted it to vinaigrette.

I poured out the bottle and the glass
And let the water behind it fly
And still people wonder, when they ask
Why I’m forever dry!

Geometry Revelations

I’m in this prayer meeting and I suddenly get this postulation (that’s a mathematical idea, not a pimple)

I saw a circle and I imagined myself tracing that circle with my finger touching a single point at a time. It would probably take me less than a second. So, a circle is made up of an infinite number of single points, arranged so that, if you trace each point, you come exactly back to the original point. So you could cover every point (which has no definable space) in less than a second. That’s all of infinity in less than a second.

Then I imagined what happens when you take that circle and rotate it around it’s diameter. The circle describes a sphere. Rotating the circle, again, probably takes less than a second. But two points of that circle made another circle at right angles with the first. And it took less than a second. Again: infinity in less than a second.

So, I take my imaginary finger again, and I put it on the sphere, touching only a single point and made almost a circle. I trace a circle (almost) in such a way that when I get back to the original point, I’m exactly one point over on the circle at right angles with the first. And I trace the circle again, ending up only one point over, and so on until I reach the first point I started on to begin with. How long would it take me? Forever! Literally! Since a single point has exactly 0 dimensions, it would take me exactly forever to touch on every single point, no matter how fast I went. The only way for me to do it is if I could touch every point of the circle at once and then rotate. (And if I could ever figure out where to put a fourth dimension, it would be the same story: the only way to touch every point would be if I had a finger that could touch ever point of the sphere and then rotate.) Infinity squared, and to the 3rd power . . .

And, since I was at a prayer meeting when this mathematical vision caught me, I’ll put a twist on it: How much less could I, being a finite creature ever begin to see every aspect of his grace? I could touch an infinite number of points in a single second, but just when I understand everything, TWIST! and there’s a whole new dimension. There’s everything I’ve ever believed, but it’s contained within a system I can’t even touchevery detail of. At least, it would take forever.

Grace, grace squared.

Grace foreseen. Grace untouchable.
Grace Indescribable. Grace beyond imagination . . .
and so on ad infinitum.