It’s something my grandmother used to say, a truth that’s been handed down three generations and beyond. Life isn’t easy, but it isn’t meant to be awful. Difficulties are a given, and times of trouble and sadness are just part of life’s fabric; so is fun, joy, and satisfaction. Work finds its counterpart in play, tears in laughter, boredom in fascination.
This old world holds so much, as does the world within. You aren’t made for unending misery: you are made for joy. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
“I will put my laws in their minds, and write them on their hearts,
and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
And they shall not teach one another or say to each other, ‘Know the Lord,’
for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.
Hebrews 8:10b-11, NRSV
Are you enough? Are you loved, and lovable? Do you know, REALLY know, that God delights in you?
YES is the true answer: you are enough, you are loved and lovable, and you are a delight to God. Know this, accept this, inscribe this in your head and on your heart. This is the law of love that guides life and gives us all we need to embody love in our outer actions and inner thoughts. We won’t do it perfectly, and we might not always do it happily, but we can and will do it. And that, my friend, is reason enough to rejoice.
Let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.
May you be content with yourself just the way your are.
No one is perfect – it’s one of the larger truths of life. No one gets the right answer every single time, perfectly executes a new skill on the first try, or embodies physical perfection. Some sing off key, others can’t draw a recognizable figure. Some can’t cook, some can’t organize their schedules or living spaces. Some show up too early, some show up late for everything. Imperfection is everywhere – physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual. No one is perfect.
But perfection isn’t the point, and seeking perfection is an exercise in frustration if not futility. None of us are expected to be perfect by God, and none of us should expect perfection from ourselves or others.
To remember that perfection isn’t the point, I ask myself a single question: Today, am I someone who tries to love God, myself, and my neighbor? If I my answer is yes, I am content.
There’s only one person in the whole world like you, and people can like you exactly as you are. Mr. Rogers
May you use the gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.
Everyone is born with unique gifts and deserving of deep love. Everyone has something to offer their small part of the world that no one else can, bringing new realities into being. But it takes encouragement and courage to offer your gifts to the world. Often, they seem so small, so limited.
That’s where the second part of this benediction comes in…
Pass on the love that has been given to you. If you haven’t been loved as deeply and broadly as you deserve (and you do deserve such love!), let God’s infinite love fill your heart and pass that on. Gifts alone aren’t enough; gifts offered in love are.
It’s one of the great mysteries of life, and one of the most obvious. It’s amazing how easy it is to overlook.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others.
If I have faith in myself but not in others, I doubt I’ll see anything beyond what my own short-comings and capabilities can offer. If I have faith in others but not myself, I’ll refuse to use gifts I have, and the world will be the poorer for it. With a little faith in self and other, I trust that:
When two or more are gathered, the Spirit is present.
Where the Spirit is present, so is Love.
Where love is present, there are no limits to what might be born.
With an infinite, infinitely loving God, how could it be any different?
May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
Why am I here, at this particular place in this particular time? Why this family, these friends, this fragile and ephemeral life?
You and I are exactly where we are meant to be, not because these particular circumstances are just rewards or punishments. We are exactly where we are meant to be because we are always and eternally in the embrace of God.
Life could have been different, but it isn’t. We are exactly where we are supposed to be because it’s only from this exact spot that we take up our lives. It’s only in this exact here, this exact now, that you and I can love God, ourselves, and each other.
When I’m not happy, I look for more reasons to be upset. I read insult in a casual remark or change in tone. I notice every red light, every turn without a signal, and everyone driving way too slow or way too fast. Nothing I need is in the cupboard, the mailbox is full of bills and junk mail, and no one is around when I need help. And God forbid someone tell me to cheer up.
My own internal frustration and turmoil colors how I see everything and everyone. I give no one the benefit of the doubt, and I assume ill intention in the words and actions of others. It’s unfair to everyone, helpful to no one, and exhausting.
But if I calm the inner storm, I’m not looking for reasons to be antagonistic or confrontational. I don’t mistake inconvenience for catastrophe or someone else’s behavior for intentional insult. I can overlook or be amused by rude behavior – even intentionally rude behavior.
Peace within myself isn’t just a nice extra: it’s a necessary state if I’m to offer true love and care to the world in a consistent and dependable way.
Peace be with you and peace be with me are words of power just as sure as they are words of blessing. Today, may you and I both have peace within.
It’s a birthday gift from my friend, Jeanne – a journal for writing things just for fun rather than for work. I’m slowly filling its pages with ideas and scraps of stories. I thought it might be worth taking a look at the sentences on the cover…
May today there be peace within. May you trust that you are exactly where your are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others. May you use the gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content with yourself just the way you are. Let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us.