Some Sunday nights at our gatherings we talk about hard things. We attempt to answer hard questions. We wipe away tears from laughter and from introspection. And though we may not leave having answers to all of the questions (or some weeks, any), we leave with a sense that we are not alone in our questions and doubts and heartaches and joys. That is huge.
It’s what most of our Sunday evenings look like.
This past Sunday night my pastorfriend shared this video from Phileena Heuertz of Gravity, a Center for Contemplative Activism.
It’s all about hearing ourselves called “Beloved” by the One who created us. That we are just as loved, each and every one of us, as our Creator loved the Son.
That’s a lot to take in.
While the words said in this clip were powerful, what struck me the most were the faces. The faces of the people in the video. When the camera focused on one person and his or her face filled the screen, I found myself searching. And yearning.
What was I waiting on? What did I want to see so badly?
And then it came and I knew.
The smile. One after another. Their smiles transformed their faces.
I know folks say that eyes are the windows to the soul, and I won’t argue the point. And while I recognize that tears are truly an intimate thing to share with another person, I realized as I watched each person smile that smiles are the most precious, intimate, and vulnerable things we can give to another person, especially a stranger. It brings us closer. Tears can come, and it’s okay if the person sitting with me doesn’t also cry. But a smile is nearly always shared. When we are brave enough to share a smile, we wait and hope for one in return. And we are often crushed if it isn’t. When each one of these people in the video smiled, so brightly and openly, I found myself smiling right back. Connected.
And I know this happens every day. We might not be the best at opening up like that to strangers. But when we do, it’s rare that we aren’t gifted one right back.
The idea of being beloved. Of being worthy of being loved. That’s hard to accept sometimes. Many times I don’t feel like a beloved. Or like I’m worthy of more than being tossed in a holding pen for a long, much-deserved time out. Is it hard to feel loved in those moments? Absolutely.
What if, what if we are one of the ways our Creator shows others they are beloved? What if we could do just that–look someone in the eyes, smile with all our being, and say to another, “You are beloved. You bring this world great joy.”
I think that could be just about the most precious thing to be called to. To tell others they are loved. By us. And by the One who breathed life into them. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. There are no “buts” in God’s love for any of us. Nor should there be any in the love we share with others.
It’s a beautiful, mesmerizing, and life-changing word.
Who needs to hear they are beloved today? Look in the mirror, hug your friend, smile at a stranger in the checkout line, and tell them.
You are beloved.
Love to all.