Good morning lionesses.
How is this week going for everyone? We’re in the time of birthdays and basketball and cross country and renewing our residency and board meetings and project proposals and the list goes on and on and on. I continue to struggle with managing my life vs. living my life.
I’ve been rereading our book alongside all of you. I like it. It’s one woman’s platform, her way of thinking. She’s presenting a spiritual metaphor that is/was significant to her, and she’s encouraging us to think about it.
I like thinking about being a lioness, rarely do I actually see myself that way. It made me laugh out loud this morning as I watched a cat stalking a bird through the elephant ears off my back porch. This tiny stray cat is perhaps a bit more indicative of my style, but I’m praying we will learn something here. Read on and keep your thoughts coming.
I am a reader of books as you know. There are books and then there are BOOKS. There are authors and then there are AUTHORS. We’re going to experience both. You met one of my BOOKS and AUTHORS when you read Life of the Beloved. Henri is on a completely different level then most books you will find at any bookstore. Henri’s books you return to, you work your way through again, and you are always impacted in new and different ways. Some authors you enjoy the way you do a cup of coffee on a busy day, others you WALK WITH, they take you places and you find yourself thinking and wondering and changing as a result of what they are saying.
I’ve been working my way through a book entitled The Only Necessary Thing by Henri. It’s a compilation of his writings, grouped by theme. I just finished rereading many different thoughts on being the Beloved, and of course, it made me think of my lionesses.
This is Henri speaking to us this morning.
I very much believe that the core moment of Jesus’ public life was the baptism in the Jordan, when Jesus heard the affirmation, “You are my beloved on whom my favor rests.” That is the core experience of Jesus. He is reminded in a deep, deep way of who he is. The temptations in the desert are temptations to move him away from that spiritual identity. He was tempted to believe he was someone else:
You are the one who can turn stone into bread.
You are the one who can jump from the temple.
You are the one who can make others bow to your power.
Jesus said, “No, no, no. I am the Beloved from God.” I think his whole life is continually claiming that identity in the midst of everything…..Prayer, then, is listening to that voice – to the One who calls you the Beloved. It is to constantly go back to the truth of who we are and claim it for ourselves.
I’m not what I do.
I’m not what people say about me.
I’m not what I have.
Although there is nothing wrong with success, there is nothing wrong with popularity, there is nothing wrong with being powerful, finally my spiritual identity is not rooted in the world, the things the world gives me. My life is rooted in my spiritual identity. Whatever we do, we have to go back regularly to that place of core identity. Henri Nouwen, The One Necessary Thing, page 67.
Many of you are writing and sharing “core identity” experiences. You are moving out of the shallows in your life and into the deeper waters. This is a good thing my dears, but it is terribly frightening, is it not? If I am not what I do, if I am not what people say about me, if I am not what I have, THEN WHO AM I???
Learning how to swim in the deeper waters is not easy, stay the course. Write. Listen. Spend time in solitude and silence. Walk. Bake. Paint. Create.
Stay the course.