Sunday, February 22, 2015

"My heart will be blessed…"

"my heart wants to sigh
like a chime that flies,
from a church on a breeze..."

I was rendered speechless by Lady Gaga's "Sound of Music Tribute performance at the 2015 Academy Awards. What an amazing reminder to billions of viewers: never. label. anyone.

This week has been filled with instances of this very reminder. Even when someone has given you decades of information about who they are, don't believe it. We are not the accumulated sum of our human histories. It isn't written in indelible ink unless God wrote it. 

We are reminded in Lamentations that God's mercies are new every morning. We are new every morning, and great is His faithfulness to this promise.

Recently I was given the gift of redemption. The opportunity to be seen for who I am today, and not for who I was forty years ago. The person who gave me this gift was once a young girl I'd known when I was in my early twenties. I had probably given her every reason label me as a disappointment -- someone who had let her down, not lived up her expectations, and failed to keep my promises.

But even though I'd carried around my earlier failings -- like an over-loaded knapsack on my back -- she had long since decided to love me for who she always knew I could be, rather than the disappointments I'd long-imagined she saw when my name crossed her path.

The night I received her friend request on Facebook -- and later a private message that said, "I am so happy to find you," -- I bawled like a baby. She went on, in that first message, to tell me that she never gave up the hope of our reconnecting. When she'd learned from a mutual friend that I was living a life of service to others -- something even I might not have expected in those long ago days -- she said, "I always knew you'd do something wonderful with your life." Wow.  I was speechless with wonder.

There were many people who hadn't felt the same way that she did about me. Folks who didn't have such high expectations for my future. Including me. People whom I hadn't disappointed -- not nearly as badly as I thought I'd let her down. But her faith in my innate goodness -- and her belief in my promise -- were untouched by my own lack of faith in myself. I'd acted on my flagging self-worth, she'd refused to let it inform her expectations for me.

Tonight -- watching Lady Gaga's performance -- I was reminded of how important it is to celebrate the good we see in people each day, while still letting them surprise us along the way.

No matter how old we are, no matter what we have done with our past moments, no matter how often we have disappointed ourselves - or others - we can wake up each morning with fresh hope in our hearts. Hope that we really can:

"climb every mountain,
ford every stream,
follow every rainbow,
till we find our dream..."

It's so easy to fall into a pattern of self-doubt based on past regrets. There is nothing difficult in going along with that storyline. Acting out labels we've placed on ourselves, or only seeing others through the labels we've placed on them.  But we don't have to.  We can do this differently.

We can start tonight -- by redeeming this day's accumulated information about ourselves or others.  Just try it.  Go back and review the day -- look at where you have made a difference, helped someone in need, corrected a mistaken way of thinking about yourself or others, shared, listened, or forgiven.  Then let this be your only record of the day.

And once you have claimed this day's beauty, grace, and wonder, take the next step. Establish in your heart that you are a child of God. That God's love alone defines you, your purpose, and your promise. Rest upon this one true fact about yourself. Then, be willing to rise in the morning, surprised by God's love for you and His unspeakable gifts of inspiration, transformation, and grace.

And while you are at it, be willing to give this same gift of "all things new," to everyone you come in contact with. Let their lives delight and surprise you.

You may just find that your world is filled with the sound of music, a few of your favorite things, dreams that will need all the love you can give, and a heart that is blessed. I know my heart was surprised -- and blessed -- tonight.

offered with Love,


1 comment:

  1. Thank you. I've had some similar moments, but you express this so fully and beautifully. I was directed here when another reader shared it.