Casey Kasem's American Top 40 blared from the radio. Hugging my pillow tight, I swayed across the kitchen floor, eyes closed, singing:
I said I love you and that's forever
And this I promise from the heart
I could not love you any better
I love you just the way you are.
Billy Joel's lyrics took me beyond the embarrassment of my parents laughing at my flat-footed steps and off-key notes. The melody lifted me out of the loneliness of the dance itself: A pillow couldn't substitute for all the boys who'd never asked me for a dance at any of our high school dances or house parties. I wanted someone to sing those words to me. More, I wanted to sing those words to someone. Anyone.
More than 1,000 Sunday morning worship services later, I realize I have been singing Billy Joel's words to someone. They've been the subtext to hymns I've sung week after week—I Love You, Lord, Better Is One Day, Immortal Invisible. I wonder though if I really love the triune God—the great I Am Who I Am—just the way he is. I know I love who I'd like to think he is: the tender high-school boyfriend, emotive father, and dragon-slaying prince I've never had.
I Am Who I Am challenged Moses to exodus with nothing more than the bald sufficiency of who he is and always will be (Exodus 3:14).
I Am Who I Am declared to Isaiah, "Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts" (Isaiah 55:9).1