“I know where you came from and the courage it took to step away from that history. I want you to know that I believe you are a very good man. Love your son Paul.”
What I did, was not anything I was trying to do. But I told my dad the truth of his being. His being. That he, beneath all the history, the bad choices, the devastation, behind that, deeper than that in all of that, he is a very good creation. Not depravity.
And not only that, its a new creation.
And not only that, if you think that you can make the way of your being, match the truth of your being and you believe the truth of your being is depravity than you are stuck. All you will be able to do is produce a righteousness that is performance based to cover up the fact that you really think of yourself as not good, that you are worthless, that you have never been worthy of being loved. That god only loves wretches.
Its not true. You were created in Christ.
The truth of my being and your being….. You are by nature a patient person, you are gentle, you are by nature kind, and you are by nature pure of heart.
If you want to participate in the transformation of your heart than you must start believing in the truth of your being.
I listened to a message given by William Young, author of The Shack. Kind of by accident but turns out I kept listening and an hour later he concluded his message with the above. I found myself with tears in my eyes. If I am honest I am not really sure why. I have heard this countless times. That I was created in Christ. But this second part… this notion of believing it. It was as though I have heard this but I did not believe it myself.
When I was a senior in high school I was honored and chosen at the graduation speaker. I remember sitting with my beloved English teacher over lunch reviewing my speech. I remember thinking that I was the very last person who should be giving a graduation speech. I remember thinking I didn’t want to tell them to reach for their dreams, I mean I did want them to reach for them, but I did not want to give the cliche graduation speech. I just remember wanting them to know that they mattered. That they may not know me well, and I may not know them well but what I do know is that they mattered because they were here. Because they were someone. I would have loved to tell them that I thought it was God who loved them dearly, but I was at a public high school and I knew this would not be appropriate. Instead I thought I could share without using his name. I find sometimes that religion is difficult, churches are often even more complicated. But the incredible beauty of the truth in our being is that we are not defined by man. Or by the churches many failed attempts at telling us we are loved. Or by our societies attempts at showing value.
We are valuable because we are his. And nothing we do, or do not do can change that.
I have been thinking about my graduation speech and what William Young wrote to his father. I realize now that the graduation speech I wrote was not for my classmates but was for myself. I was really telling myself that I mattered and I needed to believe it.
The tears I shed while listening to his talk just last week, made me realize that I am not sure I have ever believed that to be true about myself…. or at least in the past few years I have forgotten.
In my journey to heal let me be the very first to say it has been a journey. In moments I am at peace with what has been, in seconds I am in tears unable to simply cope with the past several months. Anger is not the first thing on my tongue but heartbreak. I spend hours sometimes looking ahead out before me. About what life is to look like after this. Wondering over how my body will heal. I feel betrayed in many ways. Cancer does wonders to your mind. I still find it difficult to look at myself in the mirror.
And Cancer I realize has now uncovered this part of me that never actually believed that I mattered. That saw herself as less than. That in many ways felt broken. But the beauty of this journey is I have learned more intimately how well I am loved. Forgiveness I believe he has asked of me now. He is asking me to believe that I matter and know that you are loved by me. I am moving to this place and will continue to give myself the time, wisdom and love to do so. Because I believe he can do that.
Below are some of my favorite pictures from this weekend. More on meeting my nephew and the time shared with my family.