“Oh my God,” she blurted. She was sizzling with excitement. “Oh my Great and Googly God, Aunt Amanda! I have never experienced flirting like I did last weekend.” Olivia had just come home from an overseas trip to Argentina where she attended a music festival and was now out for the evening with her since-birth trusted friend and aunt.
“Anybody worth the flirt?” asked Amanda Jane.
“Holy Jamoley, yes!” she exclaimed. “HOT – TIES! I never hooked-up of course, but it was major flirting. Major, world-class, Olympic grade flirting. And it was so much fun!”
The two had been the closest of confidants since Olivia could talk. “Best of friends” didn’t even begin to describe their connection. If ever there was an emotional storm or one of life’s speed bumps, Olivia would contact her aunt. And when the girl won awards or was elected class president, Amanda Jane always got a call. When her parents had drifted apart for awhile, Amanda Jane’s heart and arms had been Olivia’s shelter in the wind. And if baptism is a ticket to heaven, Amanda Jane’s shoulders – having been profusely baptized many times with Olivia’s tears – will most assuredly be singing with the angels. It was Amanda Jane who also ushered Olivia through the exhilaration of having a first boyfriend and the subsequent devastation when they broke up three months later.
“I have flirted a bit in my day,” said Amanda Jane. “I mostly enjoy flirting. And being the flirtee. Most times I’m not even aware of it while it’s happening – you know, accidental flirting – but, there’s always that feeling – that goofy, grinny feeling which accompanies a fine flirt.”
“I just think flirting is a great way to enjoy life,” Olivia said. “It means you are feeling attracted. Fascinated. Flirting is all about opening to the possibility of something you haven’t experienced, but might want to. Isn’t that a great way to live? And it doesn’t have to be sexual.”
“I agree,” her aunt responded. “You can flirt with danger. You can flirt with new ideas. You can flirt with taking chances. Flirt with a fresh direction in life. Some folks flirt with death just for thrills. Flirting is the engagement of possibilities.”
They were sitting in a small, intimate pub sipping a hearty red. The place smelled of pizza, beer and cinnamon. Olivia reached across the table and took her aunt’s hand. “I think I’m flirting with you right now,” she said. “The best part about flirting is that it’s not serious. Sometimes not even intentional. It just happens when you feel drawn to someone or something. But it opens you up. Alerts your senses and just… well, it just makes you feel fully alive. And I do so love you.”
“I wonder if you can flirt with God,” asked Amanda Jane. “Or infinity. Sounds a bit weird, but, why not?”
“Does sound a little kinky,” Olivia responded. “But if God creates all things, that would include flirting, wouldn’t it? And isn’t that what saints and mystics do? They are attracted to God. Enthralled with God. Awestruck by God. So they flirt, hoping to get closer to God. Like you said, engaging the possibility.”
They paused, sipped and ordered another round just as Bob Marley’s “One Love” began reggaeing through the pub sound system. Still holding hands, a smile crept across Amanda Jane’s lips, cheeks and eyes. “You know, it might just be that whenever we engage the possibility of joy, we are flirting with God. Holding your precious hand, I feel some joy coming on and maybe even a holy presence.” The two giggled and chattered with sheer – if a bit tipsy – delight. And if God weren’t present for that holy moment, she should have been.