“When did you first hear God call you his beloved daughter in who He was well pleased?” ,
When John asked this at the retreat my response was audible – it was a snort. The thought that very quickly followed was, ‘Never.’ Yet I’ve been returning to this question repeatedly in the weeks we’ve left Kirkridge. There has to be at least ONE time!
I realize that I continue to equate God with my authoritative and absentee father, which makes for a dysfunctional relationship that is distant, cold and strained in the best of times. In retrospect, this conceptualization of God may have been the very thing that has kept me an observer rather than an observant for so long.
What I should’ve been doing, and what I should do going forward, is equating God (if He must be thought of in male form) with my grandfather (also named John). This man was present for every small and large moment in my life, a constant presence of kindness, balance, unconditional love and support. He always told me that he loved me, but he also showed me in hundreds of ways that didn’t require him to use words.
If God is anything like my grandfather, then it’s these little things that I should be looking for – not some booming voice from the sky that, frankly, will never come. Rather, I will be showed in ways that I am able to understand and accept. Ways that I’ve been missing all along…
God has been telling me He loves me everyday, I’ve simply been missing it. Each day I open the door to the shelter to let in anywhere from 50 to 150 men that have been waiting, sometimes for hours. Some of them I’ve established a friendship with, and every morning they tell me they love me – sometimes several times throughout the day – for months now.
Only now have I caught on that this is God’s voice – resonating through the mouths of the poor. How could I have been so deaf to have missed it?