I feel him wrap his arms (big arms) around my chest and he heaves a sleepy, theatrical sigh and nuzzles his forehead against the back of my neck as he drifts to sleep.

And I feel a thrill run sideways through my chest, electric and painful, like a stitch, buzzing in my heart like nothing I’ve ever felt.

And I can’t help but smile in the dark, overcome by the wonder of this, by the happiness and contentment and wild improbability of where I am imagining myself to be.

Because I’m alone in bed, but my imaginary boyfriend— Tim, or Timon or Jordan or Tyrone or Max (the name is ephemeral but the personality and face and body are locking down in a strange, unexpected way)—is starting to feel alarmingly solid behind me.

This was an idle, delightful fantasy once. It’s starting (a transition that happened rapidly) to get unhealthy. There are some nights (one whole week of them) where I couldn’t fall sleep without imagining him next to me, without sharing a brief conversation before snuggling up and committing to a long night together.

I imagine making dinner, persuading him to go on picnics, being persuaded to go dancing. Holding eye contact across a room at a party, introducing him to my family, being nervous about meeting his, him running his hands through my hair, tracing down the cusp of my shoulder, coming up behind me and wrapping his arms nonchalantly around me as I stir a pot of something we’re both going to eat.

And I love him and it’s real.

I imagine the whole thing.


And God watches me, and worries. It feels that way. Sometimes He condones, once it even felt like He encouraged. But mostly this seems deeply unhealthy, and I worry.


So doesn’t God too?


How much of His will do I ever really know? How much of it is just me picking up handfuls of my anxiety and worry and flinging it skyward, calling it God when it sprinkles back down.


Do I do that with my desires? I don’t think so. Those are too scary to hold. Like aggressive cats or newborn babies. Too prickly or too fragile to pick up.

So when I feel that, that rush of comfort and safety and—Peace—when I think of my boyfriend and whisper “I want that (I want him)”, is it me, or is it God?