“I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.”
~ Jeremiah 31:3
I have encountered many ups and downs in my lifetime, including relationships, jobs, and with myself. Many times in my life I have seen myself as useless, and unloved. We all have experienced moments where we have needed a sense of "belonging," of "being loved."
I am drawn to the day that Jesus was baptized, and as the water fell from his face, the sky opened and a voice proclaimed that he was indeed, God's "beloved."
We too, seek similar moments. Where we are washed over by feelings of that love, and have a need to hear these words. We long for that "inner voice," to remind us of our worth, and that we are not alone.
A year ago I was busy caring for my cousin, John, who had suffered many years with addiction. Often homeless, or incarcerated, John carried with him many childlike qualities. Even this morning, I can hear his scruffy voice reminding me, "You know cuz, I love you."
It's hard to believe that a year ago we would be starting our final week together, and what the coming days would bring before he died.
I suppose that I am grieving him this morning, while also celebrating the anniversary of my ordination and six years of marriage. The impact of all these milestones leaves me filled with mixed emotions as I write these words.
I am reminded that we are invited to be vulnerable people. John, in his final days, found a place where he could honestly share his fears, the deep pains of his addictions, and the losses he had encountered, while also finally finding a place where he knew and felt loved.
I think that what I have discovered this morning, is that voice, reminding me that I am also "beloved."
Each of us have a deep longing in our heart to find this place. The place where we are able to hear this voice, and to know of our worth. To encounter grace, and to be brought to a place where we can experience healing and wholeness. Acknowledging our pain and losses, while also facing the times that we have done harm to others, while doubting ourselves.
Finding our true home is a journey of not just faith. It is about surrendering ourselves to be guided as well. We must find ways to be directed by our heart, so that we can emerge from where we are and discover our sacred home. Each day we must find ways to take, even the smallest steps, towards the life that God has for us, while avoiding bitter and resentful moments.
I consider the years and times that God's people have lived in exile, and I recognize their words they have left for us. They say that, "some things never change." I have to believe that it is God that never changes. We just have to remember this each day as we make our way home.
I am reminded of two things... not to get too absorbed and distracted by the past, that I fail to see the blessings that today has to offer.
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2020
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain at Essential Hospice, Webster, Texas, and is an ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.