During a retreat recently led by a colleague, this question came so clearly to me: “Do you have any idea what I think of you?” It had been some time since I had thought about whether God loved me or what He thought of me. Not that I didn’t deeply need the affirmation. We all do from time to time. But it caught me by surprise. What happened next surprised me even more.
Now I need to warn you that this will be a quite personal post. I wondered whether to even write it. But please do focus not so much on what pertains to me, but rather on what the answers would be about you. There are very key times in our lives that we need to know more deeply that we are loved, cared for, valued. Not only for what we do, but beyond and deeper to what we are, even in our unworthiness and need.
As I pondered this question that day, my vision was caught by something sitting next to me on a couch. In the sun of the morning, the light reflected off a little marble. (You can see the photo of it accompanying this post.) The marble sat alone in the middle of the couch, like someone had placed it there and then left. Due to the sun, it also cast a shadow that had a strange but beautiful radiance within it.
Here is what I felt that day, the answers to that question of what Father God thought of me. “You are like a marble, with beautiful colors inside, and the shadow you cast has a shining to it. You have a beautiful soul, a radiance even in your brokenness and darkness (shadow). You have a diversity of colors, both light and dark. You are transparent and have a simplicity in that transparency. I am placing you where others will see you, even in strange places. You are not afraid of your dark colors, or at times to dwell in them, because you know that there is also plenty of bright colors. Each color has its place inside, shining outwardly. Each one belongs.”
And then this question came to me: Why is a marble with a beautiful inside sitting on a seat? Out of place, yet in just the right place for its purpose. After wondering over the next day whether I should keep the marble and take it home as a remembrance, I went back to find it and it was gone. One friend had seen it and said it had fallen off and rolled away. With little chance of finding it, I walked around the outside area. But then after a few minutes, I saw it reflecting in a corner in the sun. It now sits by my desk where I keep some of my precious things.
These are very personal reflections above that I wrote in my journal that day and am still thinking about. I felt such clear affirmation, not only of my bright colors but of the darker ones as well. The places of weakness and limitation in my life, the brokenness. What some have called the shadow. And as you can see in the photo, the way the sun was catching on the marble showed a shadow with a radiance within. And isn’t this true of our lives, if we can take the time and attentiveness to see? Our places of darkness, of pain, of need, are actually the places of greatest radiance in our lives.
Do you have any idea how much you are loved? How deeply you are valued by the One who created you? It is not only in the good things you do, or in the beautiful places in your life. You are loved in your darker colors as well. In fact there is a “bright radiance” (I believe it was Father Richard Rohr who used that phrase) even in your dark shadows.
Who knew that a simple little marble sitting on a couch in the noon-day sun would have so much to say?