Sarah McGrath McKinley, our Student Minister at St. Aidan’s, shared this quote of Edmund Lee on Facebook today:
“Surround yourself with the dreamers and the doers, the believers and the thinkers, but most of all surround yourself with those who see the greatness within you, even when you don’t see it yourself.”
This is powerful because it acknowledges a very important truth – we are God’s beloved. It is often hard for us to see that. Sometimes we need others to remind us of that. How easy it is to become so insecure and dislike ourselves. It becomes almost impossible at times to see what is so wonderfully good in ourselves, what is great in ourselves because we hear other voices that often tell us we are not good enough and we do not measure up. The consumer culture that we are all engaged in, is constantly reminding us that we are just not good enough. More importantly they are busy telling us that we might get to be great, to be loved, to be accepted, if we just purchase or consume the next greatest product.
Henri Nouwen puts it this way:
Many voices ask for our attention. There is a voice that says, “Prove that you are a good person.” Another voice says, “You’d better be ashamed of yourself.” There also is a voice that says, “Nobody really cares about you,” and one that says, “Be sure to become successful, popular, and powerful.” But underneath all these often very noisy voices is a still, small voice that says, “You are my Beloved, my favor rests on you.” That’s the voice we need most of all to hear. To hear that voice, however, requires special effort; it requires solitude, silence, and a strong determination to listen.
That is what Edmund Lee is getting at – we need to surround ourselves with people who love us enough to remind us that we are God’s beloved. If we hear that we are not enough often enough, we begin to believe it. How much hurt there is in this world because too many of God’s beloved do not feel loved and cannot see their own belovedness. We need to be reminded of the words that were used when God claimed Jesus and commissioned his ministry – “You are my beloved child – with you I am well pleased!” As surely as God claimed Jesus, God has claimed us and sends us to do the work of reminding people of the Love that lives within them.
It becomes critical for us to remember that we are God’s own – all of us. We are to remember that we are to seek and serve Christ is ALL persons. How much more of a difference we might make if we could supplement God’s voice when addressing those around us. When we echo The Voice that reminds another sojourner that he/she is beloved we are effectively living the call of our baptism. God has already claimed us, redeemed us, and loved us — we need not do it all, but echoing God’s love would be a great start!
You know, Kevin… I think the trick here is to believe in and respect oneself well enough to allow the surrounding. That is the first step to following up on the above advice. It is taking a certain amount of risk to just charge in and surround yourself with the dreamers and doers — they may not want to associate with the likes of us ordinary folk. It’s a risk we have to take if we are ever to lift ourselves up and see clearly. It should be made easier if we follow common sense because common sense tells us that everyone — EVERYONE — has warts of some kind or another.
I smiled at your comment about the “holy land”…..we are truly blessed.