And Heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss,
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest.
I don’t have time to maintain these regrets
When I think about the way…
That He loves us,
Oh, how He loves us….
You don’t know this song? What were you doing in 2009, living under a rock??
How He Loves was a praise song that rose to popularity very quickly in the contemporary praise and worship circles. My church was not contemporary, so by the time I heard it, it was probably already at maximum popularity. Once I heard it once, I heard it everywhere.
I assumed it was a David Crowder song, with the lyrics shown above. Unforseen kiss always seemed fairly poetic, although a kiss metaphor wasn’t something that would be used in my church setting. We were a “leave room for Jesus” type. Like, majorly.
I was attending a contemporary service put on by some young people in my community that summer when I heard the other version…
And Heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss…
Excuse me, what?? Sloppy, wet kiss? If a kiss metaphor was out of my world, this sent it into the stratosphere. Where did this come from? Did these young people change the words themselves?
No, I learned. That’s the original lyrics, penned by John Mark McMillan, changed by David Crowder to make them more approachable, more more worship-friendly, more safe.
That’s crap, these young people had decided, and performed the original version. But at the time, sloppy wet kiss didn’t sit well with me. At all.
Why? As I sought the answer to my disproportionate discomfort, I came to a few conclusions:
- The adjectives sloppy and wet are both negative. Kiss is typically a positive word. Unforeseen on the other hand, could be positive. The two words hold less dissonance.
- Sloppy and Wet is not how I wish a kiss to be. That sounds gross and makes me uncomfortable.
- Unforeseen, in a positive sense, is a surprise–something you do not expect to receive. This was in line with what I had been taught on grace, and God’s relationship to man.
- But lastly, I have never been kissed, so I don’t understand the metaphor at its core.
In 2009, I was 17 years old, nearly an adult. Sitting there in that auditorium, listening to my peers sing this song on the stage, I realized that I was very out of sorts. An ugly jealousy sprung up inside me. I had never been kissed. The rest of all of these kids had. I knew. I saw them in the hallways. I was 17 and no one had ever tried to kiss me. No one had reached out to hold my hand. No one had even embraced me tightly.
Needless to say, I wasn’t expecting to ever be kissed, therefore unforeseen was the perfect word for the metaphor.
I don’t know where exactly my fear of intimacy arose. Perhaps it was the constant preaching I had been subject to (young people were not even allowed to hug in my church). Perhaps it was getting yelled at (literally yelled) when a female friend of mine snuggled into my shoulder on a couch at youth group, and I rested my head on hers. Perhaps it was the fact that I never saw my parents (or any of my relatives) hug or kiss. Perhaps I was simply afraid of failure; at 17… 19…21… most people had already done this stuff. What if I was bad at it? What if my hand was too sweaty or too cold? What if I was a dreadful kisser? What if my kiss was sloppy and wet?
It wasn’t until I was 23 that I finally experienced intimacy. At 23 I had my first kiss. I held hands with my significant other when we walked down the street, while I drove my car, while we sat on the porch. I was greeted with a smile and a kiss. I was allowed to get close, in fact, my closeness was wanted.
I still have a fear of intimacy, but it’s a different kind. It’s not a fear of failure, and it’s not a negative fear. It’s butterflies. It’s electric in my veins. It’s the excitement and fear of asking “can I kiss you?” and the calmness of the moments following.
Somewhat guiltily, I think I still prefer unforeseen, but I get it now. I understand sloppy wet kiss, because things aren’t perfect, but when you love someone, it doesn’t matter.