As I consider how to begin to wrap up these thirty one days of musing and meditation, I find the same fears with which I began resurfacing. I fear sounding trite about deep and holy things, I fear running roughshod over someone else’s pain. Because the truth is, we are beloved. We are beloved, but. . .
Belovedness is not bubble wrap. Life is hard, every life. There may be moments of heart-stopping tragedy, or months and years of the dusty, weary wear of living, or a combination of both. Loss and pain and struggle are part of life in this world, and our beloved status does not insulate us from that. Some days all I can do I return again and again to the hope that a day will come when all is made right. I’ll quote again the Sandra McCracken lyrics I love that express that hope:
“…what was incurable, desperate blindness
has been bound up from all sides with loving kindness
comfort for sorrow,
rivers for dryness
come and drink you who have no money”
All will be bound up with lovingkindness, but here we are. Living in the meantime.
What I’m considering is that there is a kind of flip side invitation in the inevitability of trouble. (John 16:33) If we cannot hide from suffering, if holding ourselves aloof won’t keep our hearts from being broken, and if we have a beloved status we did not earn and cannot lose, what can we risk? Can we love that hard to love other person? Can we risk being thought foolish or crazy? Can we say something, paint something, make something, write something that puts our most authentic selves all the way out there? Can we dive all the way in to serving and giving and loving itself?
A couple of years ago I was reading the blog of artist Kelly Rae Roberts. She had gone on a retreat with other artists, writers and photographers. One of her friends painted words on all their bodies that expressed their stories. Just below Kelly’s collarbone were painted the words “brave in love.”
I was captivated by the phrase. Sounding it out I felt all the places where I was still fearful and curled, small and dark. But oh, to be that? To be brave in love! It was an open door I wanted to walk through. I believe really knowing how beloved we are can make possible that kind of boundary-less life. It can break down the fences of isolation and fear that won’t keep us from pain, but only from the expression of our brave belovedness.