“You are strong in the spirit of the Lord!” I recently had this phrase yelled out me loudly, as Leisha put ice cold ocean water onto my forehead on the beach at Rehoboth.Our first night at the Church of the Pilgrims young adult beach retreat we were called to remember our baptism, and that we are all beloved children of God.
Remembering my baptism is just as joyous as Leisha practically scaring the crap out of me with that ice cold ocean water in the dark. As a baby, I was lucky enough to be baptized by a man who still manages to inspire me even from beyond the grave, my pap. He made it special, even more special than a baptism is. I was a beloved grandchild of my pap. I am also a beloved child of God. Recalling my baptism and thinking about what that truly meant that weekend, made me realize that I have been surrounded by inspiring people my entire life. People who I hope realize how beloved they are to me and to God.
My pap, the young adults at the Church of the Pilgrims, my parents, my brother, my friends, my boyfriend, my housemates, my fellow YAVs, my community at the Office of Public Witness, and my community at Miriam’s Kitchen, all beloved children of God. They all have different gifts and qualities that make them so beloved. I think of all of these amazing people that have graced my life with their presence and I am truly humbled.
An unfortunate part of my job is that I see people struggling so much and often times they do not realize their own belovedness. Something unexpected happened last week. A regular guest of Miriam’s Kitchen passed away and it made me question where God was in this situation and what I possibly could have done wrong in this situation. A beloved child of God who was smart and kind left this world. His life had not been easy, but you could tell that he brought joy to those around him.
I’ve been struggling with the right words this week, and I haven’t been able to find them still. Perhaps the director of social services put it best when he wrote, “It is hard to go through this and not ask questions like, could we have done more? Does our work even matter? And while those are all questions that I do not take lightly, we remain committed to our work and the MK mission. Right now, we are focused on supporting each other and just putting one foot in front of the other.”
For right now I will just choose to remember this guest as a beloved child of God. Knowing that God has a purpose for us all, and it’s possible that this guest was meant to bring joy to those around him, which he certainly did. I hope while he was here he recognized his own belovedness, as I hope all of you do as well.
I will continue to strive to be strong in the spirit of the Lord, and to help others recognize and believe in their belovedness.
I’m going to leave you with some quotes that I’ve been reflecting on this week, and also some songs that have made me happy and helped me when I’ve been feeling sad lately. 🙂
“Go to the people. Live among them. Learn from them. LOve them. Start with what they know. Build on what they have. But the best leader is, when their task is done, the people will remark,’we did it all ourselves.'” -Chinese Poem
“You will make all kinds of mistakes, but as long as you are generous and true and also fierce, you cannot hurt the world or even seriously distress her.” -Winston Churchill
“Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day.” – Rainer Maria Rilke