The OCP Blog
You Are the Beloved
“Who am I that you would know my name/know my deepest parts/and love me just the same?”
-“It’s True” by Karla Adolphe/Enter the Worship Circle
When I arrived at OCP for the first time, almost ten years ago, it was just a shell of a building. I remember Deborah sitting and painting, eating and smiling, large frame supported by a small chair, little knowing the weight of the lifetime of experiences – pain and joy, death and beauty – that it held.
Recently I was invited to re-join the staff at OCP as they transition between executive directors. My “experience” in the community was an asset, or at least we all hoped it would be. Really the best thing I had going for me, I think, was a willingness to suspend judgment (in some small way), and attempt to love the person in front of me.
We all need so much love! Can we ever truly believe that we are loved, apart from a visible sign of it in the person next to us, across the room, or in our own heads?
Two weeks ago, as I led the Morning Empowerment gathering, we passed the book, Life of the Beloved, around the circle and read from Henri Nouwen:
“…all I want to say to you is ‘You are the Beloved,’ and all I hope is that you can hear these words as spoken to you with all the tenderness and force that love can hold. My only desire is to make these words reverberate in every corner of your being – ‘You are the Beloved.’”
I was amazed by the reaction. One man cried as he read, his voice breaking and chin shivering, as he attempted to carry on without his response being recognized. “It’s so hard to reach out to people,” he shared. “You never know what they’ll think.”
We never do. It’s hard to be vulnerable. If we don’t feel the love that we are trying to share it is hard to pass it on. But if we truly believe that “loved” is the essence of who we are – and the essence of who the person across the room is – regardless of the choices either of us have made or the circumstances we are in, it becomes a little easier.
I am so grateful to have been invited back into this place over the past months, in this capacity. I rejoice in the opportunity to share what little I have to give, and have so much returned to me. And I am grateful for all the new “Deborahs” who greet me each day, as we each share a little bit of the love we truly are.
Community Center Staff