Thought for me for today.
A couple of weeks ago I wrote a blog entry that I didn't publish. It was about my birthday, and the way that it is one of two days in the year when I often feel profoundly sad and rejected. The feelings started a long time ago, and are hard to shift, even with objectivity, supposed common sense, and the 'maturity' of age.
When I open presents, I realise how little I am known; that despite thinking I have communicated who I am and what matters to me, that the messages have not been heard. Some of that comes with another feeling, that the reason I haven't been heard is that actually, no-one is listening and that they would rather keep their image of what they want than acknowledge the real person. That really does feel like rejection, and I sense this is the case for many people.
It got me to thinking about the whole issue summed up in an old book, "Why am I afraid to tell you who I am?". The answer, as I recall was along the lines of, "Because if I do and you don't like it, I have nothing else to offer you". In other words we fear rejection. But isn't there greater rejection in being thought to be something other than we are? That is what hurts; the fact that another person could look at something and say, "She'll like that". More often than not, presents reflect the giver - we look at something and say, "I'd like it if someone gave me that, or did that for me." So in our misguided enthusiasm we project ourselves onto them and then wonder that they are unimpressed.
We often say that God knows us; Psalm 139 - incidentally, one of my favourites - talks about the intimacy and completeness of that knowledge and love. We know we are known; we know we are unconditionally loved; we know we are forgiven. And the next bit... the biggest challenge, is to take that out into the world and to love other people the way that we are loved; to really take time to find out about other people; to read their hidden dreams and wishes, to know that God accepts, forgives and loves them just as she does us. We can't claim forgiveness for ourselves and then try to hold onto the right to judge others (even those who get birthday presents wrong!)
It's costly for us to share and to listen, and it's hard for those who feel unloved and unwanted to open up But isn't that gift of acceptance one of the greatest we can give - and one that really shows the value we place on another?
Maybe a bit hard to wrap though :-)?
Resources for 26th Ordinary Sunday
19 hours ago