Since today is my birthday I decided to write about something special to me. The voice that calls me beloved.
It’s what brought me here. It’s what sustains me.
And it’s what speaks to me from the depths of any confusion or concern, fear or uncertainty I may experience. Calling me to be still. And know my belovedness.
I experienced it again over the weekend when I came up against a tough, unavoidable situation, in which, for various reasons, I wound up being alone in the house to deal with a very miserable guest. As this woman began projecting her blame and misery onto me, I felt her negative energy threatening to zap my own. I struggled to stay grounded and centered in the midst of it. I envisioned a circle of light around me for protection. And I avoided her as much as possible. But it was tough.
On Sunday a reflection from Inward/Outward showed up in my email box. As I read Kayla McClurg’s words, I heard the voice of love calling me back to remembering who I am. Towards the end of her reflection, Kayla quotes Raymond Carver’s poem “Late Fragment” — a short poem he wrote on his hospital bed when he was dying.
By the time I got to the last line, I knew what I had lost sight of in the presence of the energy-zapping woman.
Kayla then asks: “Are we, too, learning to call ourselves beloved, to feel ourselves beloved on the earth? Are the fragments making us whole?”
In the midst of her questions, an inner voice asked, Do you know yourself as the beloved? Do you allow yourself to feel it, to take it in, and to live with the truth of this in your soul?
In all honesty I knew that, on most days, I did not. And I suspect that I’m not the only one who has difficulty with this.
But Spirit fully intended for me to get the message this time. Later that evening, when I picked up Henri Nouwen’s book Discernment, hoping to read a little before going to bed, these lines came up within the first paragraph:
“Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us God’s beloved. Being the beloved expresses the core truth of our existence.”
The core truth.
The crux of our existence is that we are beloved.
The voice of Love tells us this. Again and again and again. Until at last we can accept it and fully take it in.
This being Holy Week in the Christian tradition, I was reminded how, at the end of his life, Jesus was certainly surrounded by negative energy. Daggers of hatred. Projections of fear and misery. Yet always he walked the earth grounded in the love of the One who sent him, able to hear the voice that called him the beloved. Despite what was going on around him.
So, in my meditation, I ask Jesus, “Did you get what you wanted from this life, even so?” Tears forming as I ask the question because I know the suffering and intense humiliation he endured. “I can’t imagine why you would have…”
And then the answer comes: “Yes, because I drew you to myself.”
A response so beautiful. So loving. So beyond what I can fully understand. Unless I know myself as the beloved.