09 November 2010

Meditation: "You Love Me?"

"Do not be afraid, I am with you.
I have called you each by name.
Come and follow me, I will bring you home;
I love you and you are mine." 

 --Refrain from the song "You Are Mine" by David Haas quoting Isaiah 43 (see below)

"...you are precious in my sight, and honored, and I love you..." 

 --God speaking to God's people through the prophet Isaiah (43:4a)

"The source of love is deep in us and we can help others realize a lot of happiness. One word, one action, one thought can reduce another person’s suffering and bring that person joy."

--Thich Nhat Hanh

Dear Friends,

A few days ago, my 2 1/2-year old daughter Margaret was having rough day. She was coming down with a cold and obviously didn't feel very good. Usually she has a sunny and mellow disposition, but on this day she was getting easily frustrated and would dissolve into tears quickly.

I was being as patient with her as I could, recognizing she was not her usual self. But at one point, as I held her and she cried and fussed over something that remained a mystery to me, my own impatience overcame me. I set her down, sat in a chair a few feet away from her, and said sharply with exasperation filling my tone of voice, "Margaret, I don't know what to do with you! For goodness sake!" And, though I could not see it, I'm sure my facial expression communicated my own frustration and displeasure.

And then the saddest thing happened.

Margaret, eyes filled with tears, body tense, obviously distraught, cried out in her little toddler voice, "You love me, Daddy? You love me, Daddy?!?"

Those words shot straight to my heart. In an instant, my own irritation and frustration disappeared. I scooped her up into my arms and said, "Oh yes, Margaret Anne, Daddy loves you! Daddy loves you very, very much. And Daddy will always love you."

That anxiety and fear so transparent in my 2 1/2-year old daughter still resides within many of us. "Am I loved? Am I loveable? Will I be rejected or embraced?" These questions--consciously or unconsciously--still tug at many of us throughout our lives.

And the great good news is this: the answer to those questions is a resounding "YES!" For the God who called us into being and came to be with us in the most intimate and vulnerable way possible--as a baby--will never forsake us. When we have our own grown-up versions of toddler meltdowns and during them or after them we ask ourselves, "Do you love me?" the voice of the Holy One whispers, "Yes, oh Yes! You are my beloved."

Henri Nouwen writes, "We are the Beloved. We are intimately loved long before our parents, teachers, spouses, children and friends loved us...That's the truth of our lives. That's the truth I want you to claim for yourself. That's the truth spoken by the voice [of God] that says, 'You are my Beloved.'"

May you claim that truth of your belovedness today and always.

Blessings on your week,