I stood on the lawn with friends as the woman approached. She was tall, thin, and wearing a colorful scarf to cover her baldness. Undergoing cancer treatment, she remained energetic and dynamic. I’d spoken with her a few times over the weekend but standing there then, with the spring sunshine pouring over us, was the first we’d really engaged.
We were attending a retreat in Sewanee, up on the
Plateau in Tennessee.
We had just come from a healing circle. Standing, connected by our hands, the
group of fifty or so formed a circle. As we sang an ancient Hebrew prayer for
healing, a person would step into the middle with the circle closing around
them. Encircled, the person was bathed in the song of healing.
As I stepped into the circle, I felt my own heart full of love. Instead of quietly receiving, I raised my hands, “beaming” the love from my heart over those circling me. I paused on those that I knew to be struggling physically, emotionally, or spiritually. This was quite powerful for me. I felt myself open and receiving divine love and I sent it on to others around me.
Afterward, when we were outside, the woman quietly approached me. She told me she’d been so moved and that she had felt loved in that moment. I spoke quietly to her, “you have no idea how profoundly loved and cherished you are. It is time for you to open your heart and receive it.” As a tear crawled gently down her cheek she said, “ but I thought we are supposed to love, not seek love.”
What I understood in that moment, and tried to convey to her, is that when we open ourselves to the enormity of God’s love for us, when we bathe in it and truly soak it in, then all we need do is show up. This love will pour out of us, radiate from us, naturally. We spend so much energy trying to figure out what we are to be doing, grasping at living up to some expectation of who we are supposed to be, we often don’t stop long enough to take in who we are. And that is this: a precious, deeply loved child of God. We don’t have to DO anything. Take it in and show up to give it back. Receive and be, in radical acceptance. The rest will flow from there.